Henley Hawks are back in league action on Saturday with a home game against Old Albanian. Kick off at Dry Leas is 3pm.
This is a rescheduled fixture after the original game was postponed just before Christmas due to a frozen pitch. It is also the first opportunity of the year for the supporters to cheers the Hawks on as this is the first home game since December 10.
This is the first of two successive home games and with Henley’s last outing two weeks ago resulting in a fine win at Tonbridge Juddian, it gives the Hawks a great opportunity to get in amongst the teams trying to keep pace with leaders Blackheath.
With most of the other teams in the league playing last week, the Hawks are now eighth in the league on 51 points but only eight points behind third placed Barnes. A win this week, and again next Saturday against bottom club Westcliff will give the Hawks a good platform for the rest of the season.
Last week, leaders Blackheath continued their dominance with a 28-20 win at Worthing. There were also wins for Bury St Edmunds, North Walsham, Canterbury and Dorking, who beat Westcliff 108-3.
Old Albanian RFC come to Dry Leas in fifth place in the league table. They have won eleven of their sixteen games to date including toppling the league leaders Blackheath, back in October. Last week, they earned a fine 40-33 win at high flying Barnes so the Hawks will know they will be in for a stern test this week.
Old Albanian have only lost five games so far but one of those was to the Hawks who claimed a resounding 41-17 in Hertfordshire earlier in the season.
Head coach Luke Allen has made just three changes to the starting fifteen that won at Tonbridge two weeks ago. All the changes are in the forwards. Rory Mason returns to the front row at prop with Ollie Frostick on bench duty. In the second row, Zac Taylor starts alongside Sam Lunnon while in the back row, Scott White return at flanker.
On the replacements bench, Marcus Lowe makes a welcome return as does local youngster Charlie Sichel.
15 George Wood, 14 Seb Scott, 13 Adam Hakimian, 12 Louis Flynn 11 Ryan Crowley,
10 Max Titchener, 9 Will Crow
1 Dave Manning (c), 2 Tom Emery, 3 Rory Mason, 4 Sam Lunnon, 5 Zac Taylor,
6 Scott White, 7 Morgan Macrae, 8 Tom Vooght,
Reps: 16 Ollie Frostick, 17 Charlie Sichel, 18 Marcus Lowe, 19 Reuben Norville , 20 Ewan Fenley
The Henley Bulls (2nd XV) have a week off this week but the Henley Vikings (3rd XV) have an away league derby against Maidenhead 3rd. Kick off at Braywick is 2.30pm.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Henley Hawks Women make the trip to Hertfordshire take on Old Albanian. Kick off is 2.30pm.