This week, Henley Hawks welcome second placed Worthing Raiders RFC to Oxfordshire for their latest National 2(South) fixture. The Raiders are old rivals of the Hawks and there have been a number of exciting matches between the clubs over recent seasons. The kick off at Dry Leas on Saturday is 3pm.
The Hawks produced a spirited and commendable performance at Blackheath. Despite going 21-0 down, they showed great ‘togetherness and fought back to eventually take the lead with 20 minutes to go. But Blackheath are top for a reason and they showed it in the last quarter by posting 24 unanswered points and leaving the scoreboard a little cruel on the Hawks and efforts. The Hawks really had a go at the leagues top side and had their moments, scoring four tries and ensuring a bonus point.
The loss at Blackheath has seen the Hawks slip to sixth in the league. They are now some 23 points behind leaders Blackheath but only eleven behind second placed Worthing who are this week’s visitors. If they can win this week, there is still just enough time for the Hawks to get in amongst the teams challenging Worthing as next week they travel to third placed Dorking. After that, they have four games (3 of them at home) against sides in the lower half of the table before the last game of the season at Bury St Edmunds.
Head coach Luke Allen has made just three changes for the Worthing clash. Alex Bradley makes a welcome return to Number 8 meaning a slight reshuffle in the back row with Tom Vooght moving across to wing forward alongside Morgan Macrae. The rest of the pack is unchanged.
In the backs, Ewan Fenley comes in at scrum half in place of Will Crow while Guy Rawsthorn comes in on the wing, replacing Reuben Norville.
15 George Wood, 14 Guy Rawsthorn, 13 Adam Hakimian, 12 Louis Flynn 11 Leo Webb,
10 Max Titchener, 9 Ewan Fenley
1 Dave Manning (c), 2 Tom Emery, 3 Ollie Frostick, 4 Sam Lunnon, 5 Ben Harrison,
6 Morgan Macrae, 7 Tom Vooght, 8 Alex Bradley
Reps: 16 Rory Mason, 17 Tom Hall, 18 Scott White, 19 Rhyan Scott-Young, 20 Will Crow
Worthing Raiders, currently second are one of the strongest sides in the league. They have been challenging at the top of the league for the entire season and if they could have avoided the unexpected loss here and there, they could be closer challengers to Blackheath. Last week, they thumped Guernsey 59-12 and have also recently beaten Old Albanian and Dorking. When the two teams met in Sussex back in November, it was the Hawks who came out on top by 30-26.
The Henley Bulls (2nd XV) take on Worthing 2, also at Dry Leas on Saturday. Kick off is at the earlier time of 2.30pm.
The Henley Vikings make the short trip to take on Slough RFC 1stXV for their latest league game. Kick off there is 2.30pm.
Tonight, Friday (3 Mar), the Henley Hawks Women have an intriguing league game under the floodlights at Dry Leas. They have a local derby against Reading Abbey Women in a game postponed from December. Kick off at Dry Leas is 7.30pm.