After their emphatic win at Old Albanian last week, the Henley Hawks return home to Dry Leas this Saturday as they host Guernsey Raiders in the latest National 2 (East) fixture. Please note the kick off at Dry Leas is 2.00pm (to allow for Guernsey’s travel arrangements).
After the frustration of the first game against Bury St Edmunds, the players responded magnificently against Old Albanian, dominating all areas of the game and scored five tries. Henley’s pace and resolute defence, especially in the first half were too much for the Old Boys and the Hawks had built a commanding lead by half time. They will be looking to build momentum with another victory this week. Ewan Fenley has made a great start to the season at scrum half and new Hawks Adam Porter, Seb Scott and Tom Vooght have also impressed. The coaches will be looking for the side to build consistency now as the new signings blend into the side.
Head coach Luke Allen has tried to keep consistency in his selection for the visit of Guernsey but injuries have meant four changes to the team that started at Old Albanian, all of them in the backs. Guy Rawsthorn returns to the side at full back as does James Davies to the centre and George Wood to the wing. Leo Webb, who played full back last week takes over at scrum half in place of Ewan Fenley. Marcus Lowe and Ryan Crowley come in on the replacements bench.
15 Guy Rawsthorn, 14 Seb Scott, 13 Adam Porter, 12 James Davies, 11 George Wood, 10 Matt Titchener, 9 Leo Webb
1 Dave Manning (c), 2 Tom Emery, 3 Rory Mason, 4 Ben Harrison, 5 Sam Lunnon,
6 Scott White, 7 Tom Vooght, 8 Alex Bradley
Reps: 16 Luke Shpylka, 17 Charlie Sichel, 18 Tom Hall, 19 Marcus Lowe, 20 Ryan Crowley
This will be Guernsey’s third league visit to Henley, their first being in 2018-19 when they only lasted one season in National 2(South). The Hawks won both fixtures that season, 17-10 in Guernsey and then 60-28 at Dry Leas.
In the 2019-20 season, they won promotion back to National 2 from the London and South East Premier Division, having finished second.
Last season, they showed they had adapted to the demands of National 2 rugby by winning seven of their first eight fixtures, including a 17-16 home win over the Hawks. They fell away a little after that and finished tenth and wee beaten comfortably by the Hawks at Dry Leas 23-0.
Although only two games into the new season, the Channel Islanders have yet to register a win, losing both their opening games to Old Albanian and Barnes.
Barnes are the front runners in the league after their good win in Guernsey last week. Also with two wins after two matches are Rochford Hundred and Bury St Edmunds. Last Saturday they beat Westcliff and North Walsham respectively. Surprisingly, one of the teams expected to do well, Worthing Raiders have lost both games so far. Last week they went down 44-24 at Dorking. Tonbridge won the Kent derby at Canterbury while the Sevenoaks v Blackheath game was postponed.
The Henley Bulls (2nd XV) have an away game on Saturday at Bishop Stortford 2nd XV,kick off 3pm.
Also on their travels are the Henley Vikings (3rd XV) who kick off at 3pm at Newbury 2nd XV.
On Sunday, the Henley Hawks Women start their league campaign away at Blackheath RFC. Kick off is 3pm.