Henley Hawks 28 Sevenoaks 14
Henley Hawks claimed a third successive win when they overcame a dogged Sevenoaks at Dry Leas on Saturday in their latest National 2 East fixture. They scored four tries and claimed a bonus point in what was a comfortable victory, but a game that was full of unforced errors and penalties, especially in the second half and one that won’t live long in the memory for the 250 faithful that turned up to watch.
The Hawks defence, apart from ten minutes after half time, coped with anything the visitors threw at them which ensured the victory. One of the positives from the game was the number of turnovers won by the Hawks and Tom Vooght, Morgan Macrae and Max Titchener were outstanding in regaining possession at crucial times.
Sevenoaks applied early pressure right from the start, dominating the opening exchanges and looking to move the ball wide. Eventually, an interception from centre Adam Hakimian saw Henley get deep into Sevenoaks territory for the first time. A penalty resulted in a line out and the Hawks then opened the scoring after two attempts at driving mauls that were both stopped illegally by the visitors. The referee awarded a penalty try and Sevenoaks also received the first of three yellow cards.
With Ewan Fenley orchestrating everything from scrum half, the Hawks then took advantage of the extra man and scored two tries in quick succession. First, a good attack involving Max Titchener and Morgan Macrae saw Ewan Fenley held just short of the line. Fenley then took a quick penalty and scored the try which Titchener converted.
Shortly afterwards, a good turnover from the Hawks’ Tom Vooght and drive from Ben Harrison allowed Fenley to launch the ball deep into Sevenoaks territory. A defending kick was charged down and the ball eventually reached Cail Cookland who found a gap in the Sevenoaks defence to score. Titchener again converted.
Sevenoaks enjoyed more possession leading up to the break but the Hawks defence dealt with everything and kept their 21-0 ahead at half time.
The second half began with the visitors capitalising on the Hawks ill discipline and lack of concentration, and they scored in the first minute when James Simmons capitalised on a mix up in the Hawks defence and picked up a loose ball and crashed over. Ben Adams converted.
A second Sevenoaks try soon followed with some good forward drives and centre Elliot Munnelly finding the gap to crash over. Adams again converted.
The game was frantic as the visitors sensed a chance for an unlikely victory but the game descended into a series of errors and penalties from both teams. Despite plenty of endeavour, neither side had the ability to create good scoring opportunities.
Leo Webb looked dangerous and his kick and catch put the Hawks into the Sevenoaks 22. The visitors gave away three penalties in succession but the Hawks turned down a kick at goal that would have put them more than one score ahead, and each time went for a driving maul. Although their were good drives from Morgan Macrae and Ollie Frostick, Henley couldn’t find a way through.
Eventually George Wood lifted the quality of the match when he collected a kick well inside his own half, launched his own attack and showed speed and skill to outpace everyone and score the bonus point try for the Hawks. Titchener completed the scoring with the conversion.
By Nick Pitson
Photo by Steve Karpa