Henley Hawks 37-21 Bury St. Edmunds
Henley Hawks secured their second bonus point victory of the season with a sensational all-round performance over Bury St. Edmunds at Dry Leas on Saturday.
Precise in attack and resolute in defence, Director of Rugby, Luke Allen was delighted with his team following their triumph. ‘I thought we were great value. After last Saturday’s tough loss at Old Albanian, we had a very productive week in training, and I couldn’t be prouder of the lad’s efforts today. We now need to make sure we use this performance as a benchmark moving forwards.
‘There are always things we can work on, particularly as we’ve only played three games and there are a lot of new faces in the camp, but I’m over the moon with how we responded as a team.’
It was the men from Suffolk who opened the scoring after just three minutes. Constant pressure from the off eventually told when prop, Patrick Robinson burrowed over out wide. Harry Simpson added the extras.
Henley found themselves on the attack straight away and hit back with winger Lailand Gordon, on his home debut, crossing the whitewash following excellent work from Leo Webb. Titchener missed the tough conversion.
The Hawks were now patiently working their way through the gears and looked threatening at every opportunity. Great play from the backs saw George Wood dot down just inside the touchline after an excellent pass from Adam Hakimian put the speedy winger into space. Titchener was narrowly wide again, but Henley had built a 10-7 lead.
However, the visitor’s scrum was now dominating proceedings and flanker, Ruaraidh Williams touched down to restore Bury’s lead in what was proving to be a real end-to-end contest. Again, Simpson was successful with his conversion attempt.
On the 30-minute mark, Henley hit back for their third score of the afternoon. This time, captain Rory Mason powered his way over the line following an excellent driving maul from the home team. Titchener was successful with the extras and the Hawks went in at the break with a narrow 17-14 lead following a breathless first 40.
The second half was a cagier affair with the Hawks defensive line working hard to nullify any attacking threat thrown at them.
With Will Crow now pulling the strings at scrum half, Henley extended their lead further with an excellent long-range Titchener penalty. This was followed soon after by their try bonus point. Alex Bradley was the man to touch down after Wood’s sensational break saw the Hawks back into the Bury 22. With Henley now three scores clear at 30-14, it would take a colossal effort from Bury to snatch the points from here.
Despite being down to 14 men following Tom Vooght’s yellow card, this seemed to galvanise the Hawks defense. After turning the visitors over in the own 22, Henley secured their fifth try of the afternoon when ever-present centre, Harrison Hall acrobatically touched down in the corner to put the contest to bed.
A late try from Bury’s George Grigg-Pettit was scant consolation for the visitor’s efforts in what was an excellent advert for National League Rugby.
Evans (Crow 35), Gordon, Hall, Hakimian, Wood, Titchener, Webb, Collins (Frostick 67), Totic (Emery 51), Mason, Lowe (Ellaboudy 62), Lunnon, Benning, White (Vooght 51), Bradley (White 67)
Reps: Emery, Frostick, Ellaboudy, Vooght, Crow
By Alistair Beynon