HENLEY HAWKS 24 WORTHING 34
Worthing Raiders eventually overcame a spirited Henley Hawks at Dry Leas on Saturday in an entertaining game that was an excellent advert for National League rugby.
The Hawks took the game to the high flying Raiders right from the start in a pulsating first half of end to end rugby that contained seven of the games nine tries with both sides trying to move the ball at every opportunity. In the end, Worthing, a well organised outfit, proved a little too strong and finally got control of the game in the last twenty minutes.
Right from the start, the Hawks started with a great attitude and tore into the visitors, letting them know they were in for a tough battle.
It was the Hawks who hit the front after just five minutes. Morgan Macrae was excellent and he was involved twice in a good handling move along with Adam Hakimian which allowed skipper Dave Manning to score a fine try which outside half Max Titchener converted.
It wasn’t long before Worthing replied. They were quick in everything they did and were not afraid to counter attack. After some good pressure from their forwards, a simple backs move saw wing Curtis Barnes score in the corner.
The Hawks enjoyed plenty of possession early on and we’re more than a match for the visitors with Sam Lunnon, Alex Bradley and Tom Vooght industrious all around the field. The Hawks increased their lead when a short pass allowed scrum Ewan Fenley to break through and put Sam Lunnon in for a try under the posts which Titchener again converted to give Henley a 14-5 lead.
Back came the Raiders. A fine kick into the 22 gave the visitors a line out which they took quickly, caught Henley unawares and a quick move saw veteran full back Matt McLean score a try under the posts which he himself converted.
Worthing began to find their rhythm and quickly took the lead when wing Curtis Barnes ran in from 40m after a simple move from inside his own half. McLean converted.
The Hawks were not phased by going behind and came straight back to level the scores. Dave Manning and Ollie Frostick provided some good drives and the pressure won the Hawks a penalty which they kicked to touch. From the line out a driving maul was too good for Worthing and Morgan Macrae touched down for Henley’s third try.
Worthing regained the lead just before half time. A fast flowing move put the Raiders deep into the Henley 22 and from the resulting scrum, No8 Frank Taggart picked up and crashed over to give the visitors a 24-19 lead at the break.
Despite the endeavours of both sides, they couldn’t replicate the fast flowing and free scoring first
The visitors started the second half well and the Hawks started to live on limited possession. However, Henley full back George Wood made a great break out and counter attacked, with the Worthing defence scrambling just in time to stop Leo Webb from touching down. From the resulting attacking position, Morgan Macrae crossed for his second try which levelled the scores at 24-24 and gave the home side a try scoring bonus point.
With the Henley scrum starting to feel the heat from the Worthing eight, it was then that the visitors started to take control and the Hawks, under constant pressure started to give away penalties and make some unforced errors. Eventually, a Hawks attack broke down on half way, Worthing pounced on the ball and McLean ran 60m to score another try which he converted himself.
The Hawks didn’t give up but a further penalty from McLean sealed the deserved victory for the visitors and robbed the Hawks of a second bonus point.
By Nick Pitson and Photo by Steve Karpa
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