Henley Hawks 48 Westcliff 24
Henley Hawks put last week’s disappointment behind them and scored eight tries in comfortably defeating the league’s bottom club, Westcliff at Dry Leas on Saturday.
The Hawks were always in control of the game, but Westcliff, to their credit, were plucky opponents who never gave up and had their moments. They deservedly picked up just their second point of the season, a bonus point for scoring four tries.
Among Henley’s eight tries were two for stand out forward Samson Adejimi while wing Reuben Norville also grabbed a brace, taking his tally to twelve for the season.
In a subdued game, this was a solid performance from the Hawks who could have won by a lot more but for some unforced errors, more accuracy in attack and the spirited opposition. Once in each half, the Hawks scored freely and built a good lead and looked as though they would run away with the game. But each time they allowed the visitors to reply and get a score of their own.
The Hawks looked to move the ball wide right from the start and Reuben Norville showed his pace with a good break, supported by Toby Gilbey but the final pass went astray and the Essex side cleared.
However, it was the visitors who scored first when centre Greg Bannister glided through a gap in the Hawks defence for his sides first try and an early lead.
The Hawks responded immediately and from a line out close to the Westcliff line, the forwards launched the trusted driving maul and Alex Bradley touched down to score.
Although the conversion was missed, it launched a good period for the Hawks who dominated territory and possession. The Henley forwards were finding life easy at this stage with Samson Adejimi, Sam Lunnon and Jake Albon were at the heart of the action and it wasn’t long before Henley went in front. After a good period of Hawks pressure, Adejimi crashed over for his first try which Monty Bradbury converted. Marcus Lowe then added a third try when he forced his way over.
Reuben Norville looked dangerous on the wing and with the backs beginning to find a bit of rhythm, Henley quickly gained the bonus point try when Norville was given space from a superb pass from Bradbury and the winger was able to sprint in for his first try. Bradbury converted to give Henley a 24-5 lead.
Henley continued to try and play with pace but they started to over elaborate things and made a few mistakes, allowing Westcliff a chance to use the ball themselves. This they did and were rewarded with a try just before half time when Will Morrant crossed.
The second half continued in the same way as the first with Henley dominating possession, trying to spread the ball wide. They created plenty of chances with Alex Harmes looking dangerous and it wasn’t long before Samson Adejimi extended the Hawks lead with his second try, crashing over after some sustained Hawks pressure.
After another storming run from Adejimi, the ball went out to Henley wing forward Sam Lunnon, who found himself in the centre, and then produced a wonderful side step and a 40m run, outpacing the Westcliff defence and dive over near the posts. Bradbury converted.
It looked as though the Hawks would start to cut loose and after good work from Rory Mason and Lunnon again, a kick from Monty Bradbury set up an attacking position on the Westcliff line. Alex Harmes gathered the ball from the back of the ruck and scored in the corner. The try was converted by Monty Bradbury to give the Hawks a 43-10 lead.
However, Westcliff had other ideas and then scored the try of the game. A length of the pitch effort that involved backs and forwards ending with Paul Slater scoring in the corner. Bannister converted.
A good run from James Davies then put Norville over for his second Hawks try of the day before Westcliff had the last word with their deserved bonus point try. A Hawks attack broke down on half way and a kick through and chase from Seyi Ajeigbe saw the Westcliff wing win the race to the touchdown. Bannister again converted to finish the game.
The Hawks will be pleased to get the win under their belts and score eight tries to put them in confident mood as they travel to Cornwall to take on Redruth this week.
Report by Nick Pitson and Photo by Steve Karpa
15 Rawsthorn, 14 Norville , 13 Babarinsa, 12 Davies, 11 Harmes, 10 Bradbury, 9 Gilbey,
1 Cook, 2 Adejimi, 3 Mason, 4 Albon (Capt), 21 Harrison, 6 Lunnon, 7 Lowe, 8 Bradley
Reps: 16 Probyn (for Cook 61), 17 Emery (for Adejimi 57), 18 Benning (for Albon 50), 19, Crow (for Gilbey 61), 20 Cookland (for Rawsthorn 62)