Hawks Take on Leicester Lions for First Time

Henley Hawks break new ground on Saturday when they visit Leicester Lions RFC for the first time and their latest National 2 (South) fixture. There is an early kick off for this game at the Lions Westleigh Park Ground, which is 2pm.

The end of this game will see the season reach the half way mark with the Hawks well in contention for a title challenge.

The Hawks eventually came through their game with Bury St Edmunds last week showing tremendous resilience to come from 18-7 down and playing with only fourteen men for the last quarter following Tom Emery’s red card. They also had to cope with both second rows needing to be replaced following a head clash. However, a try from Reuben Norville gave the Hawks some impetus, and despite having a number of players playing out of position, they came through the tough contest helped by a further try from Jack Robinson.

Despite not claiming a bonus point against Bury St Edmunds last week, the Hawks stay in second place in the league. Leaders Tonbridge Juddians, had no trouble in beating Dings Crusaders 38-5 and claiming a crucial bonus point, while third placed Taunton Titans struggled to a win at Sutton and Epsom by just 15-12. So the top three places remain unchanged with just three points separating the top three sides, the Hawks being just two points behind the leaders. Fourth placed Clifton lost a high scoring game 35-30 to sixth paced Redruth who are now showing some good form.

Head coach Luke Allen has made four changes for the Leicester game, one of them positional. In the backs, the one change sees George Griffiths get his chance in the centre in place of Xav Andre who is on the bench. Alex Burrage continues to fill the outside half position.

In the forwards, Brad Cook moves across from prop to hooker to replace Tom Emery who was red carded last week. Charlie Hughes also returns in the front row alongside Rory Mason and Cook. Skipper Sam Lunnon returns to the side in the second row, while the back row of Will Bordill, Marcus Lowe and Alex Bradley remains unchanged. Elliot Deacon, George Primett, Charlie Wicks, Scott White, Angus Hinton and Xav Andre provide the cover on the bench this week.

Henley Hawks:

George Wood, Jack Robinson, George Griffiths ,Connor Morrison, Reuben Norville, Alex Burrage, Ewan Fenley,
Rory Mason, Brad Cook, Charlie Hughes, Dave Hyde, Sam Lunnon, Marcus Lowe, Alex Bradley, Will Bordill

Reps: Elliot Deacon, George Primett, Scott White, Angus Hinton, Xav Andre,

Leicester Lions are a new side to National League 2 (South) following a level transfer at the end of the 2018-19 season. They look a very useful outfit, currently lying fifth in the table having won ten of their fourteen games to date. There have been victories over Dings Crusaders, Bury St Edmunds and Clifton amongst others but their best result was two weeks ago with an impressive 12-6 victory over third placed Taunton. Last season they finished 12th in the National League 2 (N) where they came up against teams familiar to Hawks supporters in Stourbridge, Tynedale and Wharfedale.

Elsewhere this week, there is a another double header on Saturday with the Hawks 2nd (Bulls) XV also travelling to take on the Leicester Lions 2nd XV. Kick off for this one is also 2.00pm.

The one home game this week is the Henley 3rd (Vikings) XV who have another all Oxfordshire contest taking on Grove RFC 2nd XV at Dry Leas. Kick off is 2.00pm.

The Vets (Vultures) XV travel to play Old Reigatians RFC.  Kick off is to be confirmed.

On Sunday, the Henley Hawks Women have a home league game against Thurrock RFC. Kick off at Dry Leas is 2pm.