Tonbridge Juddians 15 Henley Hawks 27
Henley produced the result of the season so far in National League 2 South by producing a scintillating win over league leaders Tonbridge. The hosts had not lost a league game at home in almost two years however Henley comprehensively outplayed their opponents to produce a bonus point win.
After last weeks lack lustre performance against Redruth it was important that Henley responded positively to avoid Tonbridge gaining further ground at the top. With this victory Henley have cut the deficit to just three points.
Henley enjoyed most of the possession throughout the game but particularly in the first quarter of the game where they put a tight stranglehold on their hosts. This constant pressure soon took its toll as a penalty opportunity was kicked to the corner. With the lineout secure the resultant driving maul saw Samir Kharbouch driven over wide out. Unfortunately Ben Bolster was unable to convert.
Following this start Tonbridge enjoyed their best moment of the first half when with their first real attack in to the Henley 22 they were rewarded with a well worked try from full back Matt Walsh, ex Henley Hawk Will Robinson added the extras to take the hosts into a narrow lead.
However Henley responded in style and with constant pressure inside the Tonbridge half was able to convert a straightforward penalty to establish the lead on the half hour mark. This lead ultimately they would never relinquish. Henley were playing with confidence and moving the ball around the field with growing accuracy and this Tonbridge had difficulty coping with. Indeed the pressure told as Sam Lunnon skilfully intercepted a loose pass to run 30 meters to score and take Henley into a 13 – 7 lead at half time.
The hosts started brightly after the interval and Henley had to endure some sustained pressure. However the resolute Henley defence forced Tonbridge into taking a kick at goal rather than going for a try which might have restored their lead. With the score at 13-10 in Henley’s favour it was clear the next score was going to be crucial. Henley were quick to respond and a penalty kick to the corner eventually lead to another driving maul try from the effervescent Tom Emery, this time Ben Bolster was able to add the extras to open up a ten point lead going into the final ten minutes.
Henley were determined not to sit on this lead and once again were ferocious in defence and forced the hosts to concede another penalty. Instead of kicking the three points the visitors chose to go to the corner and set up another forward drive which was illegally stopped as Henley were driving for the line. Referee Daniel Collins had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try.
Henley were then able to comfortably see out the remaining five minutes to secure an historic win. This was an outstanding performance from all the team but particularly the back row of Will Bordill, Marcus Lowe and Alex Bradley who were tireless and relentless with their work rate and application.
Team O Neill, Robinson, Burrage, Kharbouch, Norvill, Bolster, Fenley, Cook, Emery, Hughes, Lunnon, Albon, Lowe, Bradley,Bordill. Rep White, Hyde, Primmet, Morrison, Mason.