Emphatic Win for Hawks Away Against Old Albanian
Old Albanian 17-41 Henley Hawks
Henley produced an emphatic win at Old Albanian on Saturday which was just the tonic the squad needed to get their season underway following the disappointment of the previous week.
Henley showed their attacking intent right from the start as they dominated territory and possession with some inventive and enterprising attacking play. This was a game where their set piece was dominant and when they needed to defend, they were there in numbers. In addition, a number of turnover situations occurred as they were quicker to the breakdown. In this respect Scotty White led the way with a high energy performance alongside fellow backrower, Tom Vooght.
Henley opened the scoring on four minutes as a forty-five-yard penalty was converted by Max Titchener. Occasionally OAs threatened but a resolute defence ensured they became frustrated and therefore errors crept into their game.
It was not long before Henley were again on the scoresheet as a trademark catch and drive from the forwards ensured the defence was held tight and eventually Scott White touched down. The conversion from Max Titchener stretched the lead to 10 points with only 12 minutes on the clock.
At this point it was important that Henley pushed on and consolidated their lead. However, this signalled OAs intent to attack but the Hawks defence held firm and coupled with a solid set piece they were able to repel any further threats. Sam Lunnon was next on the score sheet as a series of penetrating drives allowed the versatile second row to show his pace and touch down under the posts once again Titchener was successful.
The remaining of the half was really all Henley as a dominant scrum allowed Tom Vooght to break clear and pass to Ewan Fenley. The Henley scrum half had the option of passing outside but used his pace and strength to dive over for a superbly converted try.
Henley were now playing with fluency and purpose and the ever-threatening Rueben Norville showed his pace and stepped outside his opposite number, the defender launched himself at the Hawks winger in a desperate attempt to stop a certain try. The tackle was deemed illegal and the officials had no hesitation but award a penalty try and Henley had secured the bonus point and a 31-0 half time score line.
It was clear that OAs were going to respond in the second half and once again Henley conceded in the early few minutes as the OAs centre found a rare opening to score close to the posts. However, Henley had enough of a cushion to survive this early setback. Indeed, the hosts were next to score again wide out to further reduce the arrears.
Henley were not finished however, and further turnovers ensured that for the second time in the game the Hawks forwards were able to drive over with Alex Bradley touching down. The reliable boot of Max Titchener further stretched the lead to 38 points to 12.
A late rally by OAs saw them score with five minutes remaining although Max Titchener had the final say with a penalty on full time to finish with 14 points and a very satisfying bonus point away win for the Hawks.
Henley: Webb, Scott, Hakimian, Porter, Norville, Titchener, Fenley, Manning (capt), Emery, Mason, Lunnon, Harrison, White, Vooght, Bradley. Reps Shpylka, Sichel, Taylor, Hall, Wood.
By Nigel Dudding
Match photo courtesy of Neil Baldwin Photography,