Barnes 17-17 Henley Hawks
This was always going to be a tough assignment against a Barnes team that displayed good attacking intent and had only been beaten once at home all season.
The game started at a frantic pace with both sides showing willingness to run the ball from almost anywhere on the pitch. Henley were first into their stride as a series of attacks enabled Rueben Norville to get outside his man and slip the ball to Rhyan Scott-Young who went over for an excellent try on 10 minutes, the conversion from Matt Dalrymple just shaved the upright.
However, Henley had set down a marker and Barnes needed to respond. This they did with tries in quick succession. Once again handling errors and poor kicking particularly out of defence handed the initiative to the hosts and they were able to build effective attacking positions. Eventually the pressure told and a well worked try from the Barnes winger saw the hosts level the scores.
Unfortunately, Henley were unable to clear effectively from the kick off and Barnes were able to build a period of pressure on the Henley line. From one such penalty the hosts scrum half caught Henley napping and a quickly taken tap penalty was well-executed for an opportunist try. With the conversion successful Barnes were now in the driving seat at 12-5.
This seemed to spur Henley into action, and once again good attacking phases of play resulted in Will Crow playing an advantage and weaving his way to scoring under the posts with an easy conversion for Matt Dalrymple. At 12 points all it was game on and everything to play for at half time.
The second half was a pretty torrid affair with both sides guilty of errors, but it was Barnes who scored next in the 68th minute after a sustained set of attacks produced enough space for the hosts centre to squeeze over with the conversion narrowly missing. It was now up to Henley to go and win the game.
The Hawks showed great character and were unluckily not to be awarded a penalty try when a driving maul was held up over the line after a penalty infringement. Undeterred, they attacked again and were rewarded for their efforts when Samson Adejimi was at the back of a driving maul to dot down. Sadly, Matt Dalrymple slipped as he took the conversion and the sides were once again locked at 17 points each.
The last few minutes saw Barnes miss a kickable penalty before one last Henley attack gained vital field position for a win, and at a ruck wide out on the hosts ten metre line, Henley were awarded a penalty for a player not rolling away. However, it was obvious that the Barnes player had taken a heavy blow and was unable to move. After some discussion amongst the officials and Henley players, it was decided to kick the ball into touch rather than play out the penalty. This brought the game to an end.
The match also marked Scott White’s 100th game for the Hawks. Scott has been one of the most loyal and influential players that Henley has had in recent years and the whole club send him our congratulations.
As a result of this gesture, Henley have received numerous tweets and messages from across the rugby community including the Rugby Football Union, congratulating them on showing true sportsmanship and kindness. A fantastic example of how the game of rugby embraces everything good in society.
Report by Nigel Dudding
Henley: Norville, Davies, Amphlett, Panday, Scott- Young, Dalrymple, Crow, Mason, Emery, Cook, Albon (capt), Harrison, Lunnon, Bradley, Hall, Reps: White, Hadfield, Lowe, Adejemi, Lewis