Dramatic Win for Henley in Guernsey

Guernsey Raiders 26-27 Henley Hawks

Henley fully deserved their bonus point win on Saturday by virtue of outscoring their opponents by four tries to two. A penalty five minutes from time kicked by Max Titchener sealed a dramatic game where the lead changed hands several times. Indeed, Guernsey headed into the final twenty minutes with a 14 point advantage, but a never say die attitude from Henley coupled with a desire to attack turned the game around.

The weather last Saturday was variable turning from bright sunshine to gale force winds and rain in a matter of minutes. Needless to say the flight going over was a little bumpy. The weather cleared up for kick off with the Hawks playing into a stiff breeze. Guernsey had the best possible start as Henley were penalised for an off side offence and the option for an easy penalty was taken.

Once again playing into a strengthening wind Henley found themselves pinned deep into their own half and another infringement saw the home sides lead extended to 6 points.

An excellent penetrating run by Adam Hakimian eventually saw Henley camped deep in the Guernsey half and after a series of devastating driving mauls eventually Tom Emery was driven over and with Max Titchener converting Henley were ahead 7-6.

Once again, the hosts replied by stealing a Henley lineout which almost resulted in a try but dropped at the final moment. However, with Henley under pressure the inevitable penalty was conceded to give the islanders a narrow lead once more.

There now came a period of sustained pressure from the Hawks with Guernsey conceding numerous penalties which eventually resulted in a multi-phase attack being converted for a good team try by Adam Hankimian, sadly the resulting conversion fell just short, but Henley had a 12-9 interval lead and with the wind at their backs a promising second half looked probable.

Unfortunately, Henley’s kick off went dead and therefore a resulting Guernsey scrum on half way was not the ideal start. Indeed, the home side scored from the resultant scrum as they overloaded the Henley defence and powerful run from the Guernsey winger saw him go over under the posts for a converted try. At this point, and with the score at 16-12 Guernsey had their best spell of the game as they launched a series of penetrating back moves that tested the Henley defence. There was a somewhat fortuitous ricochet with one of these attacks and the ball bounced kindly for the Guernsey winger Anthony Armstrong to snake his way over for another converted try. At 23 -12 it looked ominous for the visitors and a series of penetrating attacks by Guernsey were only held out by some superb defence some 5 meters from the line. However, the inevitable penalty was conceded and Guernsey opted to kick the goal to take their tally to 26 -12.

It was now all or nothing for the visitors and a tap and go penalty led to some excellent hands with Adam Hankimian going over for his second try, the conversion just falling short. Henley’s tails were now up and after a series of punishing mauls Tom Vooght cleverly spun off the side of the maul to stretch and score, with Titchener converting Henley were now one point adrift.

Back came Henley with some fierce attacking pick and goes which brought a penalty in front of the posts which was converted by Titchener with a minute to go. However, the hosts had one last opportunity with a penalty themselves as the clock turned into the red. Luckily for Henley, the difficult kick sailed just right of the posts and signaled the end of the game. A very important bonus point triumph for the Hawks against a solid Guernsey side who are very tough to beat at home.

Henley: Wood, Norville, Hakimian, Flynn, Crowley, Titchener, Fenley, Manning capt, Emery, Mason, Lunnon, Harrison, Hall, Vooght, White, Subs Crow, Macrae, Frostick, Taylor, Scott.

Match photo courtesy of Martin Gray at Guernsey Sports Photography.


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