Henley Hawks couldn’t hold on to a ten point lead as Dorking fought back from being 24-14 behind to claim a deserved victory at Dry Leas on Saturday.
This was a game that the Hawks could have and should have won and they will be both frustrated and disappointed that they couldn’t see the game out. They had chances but just didn’t have the creativity to break down the Dorking defence at crucial times.
The visitors were far more fluent with the ball in hand and had two good attacking wingers in Mcrae and Emens who they used to good effect, scoring three tries between them and they started three of their four tries from their own half.
Both sides started brightly but the Hawks were the better side in the first quarter, enjoying plenty of possession. They were quickly on the scoreboard when centre Louis Flynn, finding himself in plenty of space was too quick for the Dorking defence and he ran in from 40m. Max Titchener converted.
The Hawks were looking to take the game to the visitors at every opportunity and there were strong runs from Tom Hall and James Davies. Will Crow, playing against his old club was sharp around the breakdown as the home side continued to put pressure on the visitors.
Following a yellow card for Dorking, a Titchener penalty extended the Hawks lead.
Despite being a man down, Dorking got on the scoreboard shortly afterwards when they ran from a loose Henley box kick. Some good handling from their backs and good link play from Emens allowed Mcrae to cross for Dorking’s first try that Henry Anscombe converted.
The Hawks hit back, winning a scrum penalty that allowed Titchener to kick for the corner. The driving maul was good and the Hawks extended their lead through Will Crow who pounced on a loose ball to pick up and score. Titchener’s conversion gave the Hawks a 17-7 lead at half time.
The second half saw Dorking up their intensity with their backs looking threatening and the Hawks struggling to stop the visitors strong runners. A good driving maul followed by some excellent handling from the Dorking backs created the space for Emens to easily cross for a try which Anscombe converted.
Just as it looked as though Dorking were beginning to cope with anything that the Hawks threw at them, the Hawks capitalised on a Dorking midfield move that was intercepted by Henley’s James Davies and he raced 40m to score under the posts. Titchener converted.
The visitors though were now more in control and their strong runners, especially when with some space posed problems for the Hawks defence. The visitors then scored the best try of the game. Another loose Henley kick was fielded by the Dorking defence who started another break out from inside their own half. Some great handling between Cowell and Anscombe allowed outside half Andrew Ramsden to score his side’s third try near the posts. Anscombe converted.
The Hawks had chances but the visitors eventually took the lead with more good handling and strong running finishing with Emens crossing for his second try and Anscombe kicked his fourth conversion.
Try as they might, the Hawks couldn’t find a way through the Dorking defence. They won a series of penalties and camped on the Dorking line for the final five minutes. Henley turned to their reliable driving maul to try and get the vital score but after a second driving maul was halted again by the visitors, the referee finished the game much to the delight of the Dorking team and their supporters.
15 Ryan Crowley, 14 Reuben Norville, 13 James Davies, 12 Louis Flynn 11 Leo Webb, 10 Max Titchener, 9 Will Crow
1 Dave Manning (c), 2 Tom Emery, 3 Rory Mason, 4 Omar Ellaboudey, 5 Ben Harrison, 6 Tom Hall, 7 Tom Vooght, 8 Sam Lunnon
Reps: 16 Luke Shpylka , 17 Morgan Macrae , 18 Scott White, 19 Alex Bradley, 20 Cail Cookland
Report by Nick Pitson and Photo by Steve Karpa