Henley Hawks head to Kent on Saturday to play old rivals Canterbury RFC in their next National 2(East) fixture, which is also the last away game of the year. Kick off at Canterbury’s Merton Lane Ground is 3pm.
The Hawks will be pleased to get back to winning ways against Rochford Hundred last week. The Essex side certainly tested the Hawks resolve at times, particularly when they got back to within three points but Henley came through to win the game that they didn’t really look like losing. There will be frustration that there were problems with their own line out but the scrum was dominant throughout with the Henley eight totally out scrummaging the Rochford pack. Another positive was the performance at the breakdown and loose play with Morgan Macrae, Tom Hall and Sam Lunnon leading the charges. It was a much better performance from the Hawks and they will go to Canterbury with a high degree of confidence.
The Hawks victory last week moves them up to 7th in the league table, still fourteen points behind leaders Blackheath, who are now six points clear of second placed Old Albanian.
Trips to Canterbury are never easy and there have been some tough battles there in the past. This season however, the Kent side have struggled to find any sort of form and are currently 12th having only won three of their twelve games to date. Last week, they went down 34-17 at Guernsey.
Three seasons ago, Canterbury finished second, one point ahead of the Hawks and won promotion to National League 1 only to be relegated the following campaign. Last season they finished 12th with the Hawks doing the double over the Kent side, winning in Kent 19-10 and at Dry Leas 12-10.
Head coach Luke Allen has made four changes to the starting line up that took on Rochford. Prop Henry Penrose comes in for his first start of the season. The only other change in the forwards is Sam Lunnon coming back into the side at wing forward in place on Tom Hall who reverts to the bench. In the backs, George Wood comes in at full back, while Ryan Crowley, after a good showing against Rochford keeps his place on the wing with Reuben Norville taking up bench duties this week.
15 George Wood, 14 Seb Scott, 13 Adam Hakimian, 12 Louis Flynn 11 Ryan Crowley,
10 Max Titchener, 9 Ewan Fenley
1 Dave Manning (c), 2 Morgan Macrae, 3 Henry Penrose, 4 Omar Ellaboudey, 5 Ben Harrison,
6 Sam Lunnon, 7 Scott White, 8 Tom Vooght,
Reps: 16 Ollie Frostick, 17 Tom Emery, 18 Tom Hall, 19 Will Crow, 20 Ryan Crowley
For those not able to travel to Canterbury, there is rugby at Dry Leas on Saturday. The Henley Bulls take on Esher 2nd , kick off 2pm.
Also at home are the Henley Vikings who have a league game against Newbury 2nd. Kick off is also 2pm.
On Sunday, the Henley Hawks Women have their latest league fixture. They travel to take on London Irish. Kick off is 2.30pm.