For their last National 2 (South) fixture of 2021, Henley Hawks make the short trip to West London on Saturday (tomorrow) to take on Barnes RFC. Kick off at the Queen Elizabeth Walk Ground, Barn Elms is at the earlier time of 2pm.
After the disappointment of the Leicester Lions result last week, Henley Hawks will want to finish the year with a win, and with some tough games to come in January, they will want to go into the Christmas break on the back of a victory.
In the new year, the games come thick and fast for the Hawks, starting with an away game at Hinckley before welcoming old rivals Redruth to Dry Leas on Jan 15. There is then a difficult away trip to Clifton before finishing the month at home to Westcliff.
The Hawks came up against a good side in Leicester Lions last week. They were well organised and clinical in capitalising on the Hawks mistakes, something that Henley will want to address this week. There were positives however. The scrum was dominant and although they lacked composure at times, the Hawks did score four tries. The Hawks are now fifth in the table, seven points behind the leaders, Esher so they are still right in the mix.
There are three changes and two positional changes to the Hawks team for the trip to Barnes.
In the backs, Will Panday returns to the centre, replacing George Amphlett who is on the bench. Joining Panday in the centre is James Davies who is on loan from Chinnor RFC and makes his first start for the Hawks.
Reuben Norville and Will Crow revert to their usual positions of wing and scrum half respectively.
In the forwards, the only change sees Tom Hall return to the back row with Marcus Lowe taking bench duties.
15 Cail Cookland, 14 Reuben Norville , 13 James Davies, 12 Will Panday, 11 Rhyan Scott-Young,
10 Matt Dalrymple, 9 Will Crow,
8 Alex Bradley, 7 Tom Hall, 6 Sam Lunnon, 21 Ben Harrison, 4 Jake Albon (Capt), 3 Rory Mason, 2 Tom Emery, 1 Brad Cook
Reps: 16 Jim Hadfield, 17 Samson Adejimi, 18 Marcus Lowe, 19 George Amphlett, 20 Ross Lewis
There are new leaders at the top of the table after this weeks results. Esher are now in pole position thanks to a 26-0 victory over Canterbury. They are on 53points, one ahead of Redruth, who had led the league for quite a few weeks. They did beat Dings Crusaders 15-0 but couldn’t claim a bonus point. Clifton hammered Rochford Hundred 52-3 to move into 3rd place while Worthing, who beat bottom club Westcliff 52-12 are in fourth place.
Barnes RFC are in their second spell in National 2 (South). They we first promoted into the league in the 2014-15 season, lasting two seasons as relegation contenders before being relegated. They won the London and South East Premier League in 2017-18 and and have adapted slightly better to the higher status this time.
This season, Barnes are the draw specialists having drawn three of their fixtures to date, including one against their local rivals, Esher, the league leaders. They have won five of their games, including an impressive 35-19 away win last week at Old Albanian so the Hawks will know they are in for another tough encounter, particularly as they have had trouble there before.
The two clubs last played each other in the curtailed 2019-20 season when the Hawks won at Dry Leas 34-22. The last time Henley visited Barnes was in 2018 when the came away with a 24-17 victory.
Elsewhere, the Henley Vikings (3rd XV), after their fine top of the table win against Phoenix RFC last week, have a home game against Rams 4th XV. Kick off is 2pm.
There is no game for the Henley Bulls this week.