Hawks Travel to Essex to Take on Westcliff

The Hawks head east on Saturday to resume their National 2 (South) campaign. They travel to Essex to take on Westcliff RFC, kick off is 3pm.

After the euphoria of the occasion last Saturday, the Hawks will be keen to get back on the pitch and start building some consistency and momentum to their season. Rugby wise, it was a much better performance by the Hawks than the one against Old Albanian. The occasion obviously helped with the forwards being much more cohesive and effective against Clifton.

There were also good signs from the backs with new additions to the squad this season, James Love, George Amphlett and Monty Bradbury showing up well. It’s early days but last week’s victory should give the Hawks confidence to push up the league and challenge the top sides.

Westcliff are based in Southend and this is their second season in National 2 (South).  They won promotion to the league via the play-offs from London & South East Premier at the end of the 2018-19 season. They finished runners up to Sutton and Epsom, and went on to beat Barnstaple 44-5 in the play off match.

2019-2020 was Westcliff’s their first season at this level. They found it difficult adjusting to life in National 2(S) but a good run of form towards the end of the season saw them pull away from the relegation places and they eventually finished 13th. The Hawks did the double over the Essex side, winning 26-15 in Essex and 29-5 at Dry Leas.

They have not found this season easy either so far and currently sit at the foot of the table, having lost all four games so far, to Dings Crusaders, Barnstaple, Leicester Lions and Barnes.

They do have a few injury issues at present and will be a handful on their own pitch, so the Hawks will have to be at their best to come away with the spoils. Henley will have to be aware of Westcliff skipper Greg Bannister, a prolific points scorer who has already claimed four tries this season.

Elsewhere in the league, previous leaders Esher lost at the ever improving Leicester Lions, allowing old rivals Worthing Raiders take top spot this week after they got the better of the previously unbeaten Old Albanian. Redruth, although having played a game less than the early pace setters, are now the only side with a 100% record after a thumping victory at Hinckley.

The club were pleased to have four senior sides take to the field last weekend. As well as the Hawks, the Bulls eventually succumbed to Chinnor Falcons in a high scoring game 52-34 while a strong Vikings (3rd XV) side had a resounding 96-0 victory over Reading 3rd. The Henley Colts won at Banbury 26-12 and the Henley Hawks Women won their first league game of the season at home to local rivals Reading Abbey 31-5.

On Saturday, this week, the Henley Bulls have a home league game against Bracknell 2, kick off at Dry Leas is 3pm.

The Vikings also have a home league game at home to Slough 2nd, kick off 3pm.

On Sunday, the Henley Hawks Women are away to Richmond Ladies, kick off 2pm.