Esher End Winning Streak for Hawks

Esher 46-25 Henley Hawks

Henley Hawks four game winning run came to an abrupt end on Saturday when they were outgunned by Esher, 46-25 at Molesey Road.

Despite going toe for toe with the title favourites for most of the first half, Henley came unstuck in the second period, but will have been pleased that a late Sam Lunnon score saw the Hawks come away with at least a try bonus point for their efforts.

Playing against a stiff breeze in the first half, Henley were slow out of the blocks and the hosts were quick to capitalise. Esher centre, Fergus Donnelly powered over out wide with just five minutes on the clock. The conversion was just wide.

Henley started to patiently work their way through the phases and were rewarded with a well-struck Max Titchener penalty to put them on the board. However, Esher were making ground too easily through midfield and an excellent rolling maul saw hooker, Charles Crawley put the finishing touches on their second try to extend the home sides lead to 12-3 with Sam Morley adding the extras.

This setback seemed to stir the Hawks into life and they found themselves deep within the Esher 22. A quick tap penalty saw Will Crow snipe his way past some poor half tackles to cross over for the Hawks first try of the afternoon. Titchener added the conversion to bring Henley right back into the contest.

A yellow card for Donnelly shortly afterwards gave Henley another opportunity to get back into the hosts half. Some slick hands saw Kaspar Strugar into space out wide and he finished well in the corner to give the Hawks the lead for the first time at 15-12. Titchener couldn’t add the touchline conversion.

However, this was about as good as it got for the Hawks as Esher came alive with 15 minutes left of the half. First, number 8, Ben Kirby crashed over to give the hosts the lead again at 19-15. This was followed soon after by a Morley penalty to further extend the lead to 22-15.

The Hawks were in disarray and Esher scented blood. A yellow card for Alex Bradley saw Henley having to manage the remainder of the half with 14 men and the hosts took full advantage. On the stroke of half time, a well-worked try from Donnelly gave him his second of the afternoon, and more importantly a try bonus point for Esher. With Morley adding the extras, the home side went in at the break with a commanding 29-15 lead, leaving Henley with it all to do in the second period.

With the man advantage to start the second half, Esher pulled further away after 45 minutes with substitute, Harry Faulkner breaking away from within his own 22 to cross out wide for their fifth of the afternoon.

To give them credit, Henley refused to roll over and Strugar went over for his second try to give the Hawks a scent of a comeback at 34-20 with 20 minutes left in the contest. However, two further tries from Myles Rawstron-Rudd and the excellent Pierre Thompson put the game to bed.

The late Lunnon try meant Henley didn’t come away empty handed, but the two sides swapped positions in National 2 East with Esher moving up to third and the Hawks sliding to fourth. Henley will rue some missed opportunities, but defensively will need to improve when the league resumes after a two week break.

With a good opportunity to rest some tired bodies, Henley welcome Wimbledon to Dry Leas on November 4th for their next league clash, kick-off 3pm.

1. Manning, 2. Totic, 3. Mason, 4. Lowe, 5. Lunnon, 6. Benning. 7. Vooght, 8. Bradley, 9. Crowe, 10. Titchener, 11. Crowley, 12. Hakimian, 13. Hall, 14. Strugar, 15. Wood

Replacements: 16. Emery, 17. Collins, 18. Ellaboudy, 19. Rawsthorn, 20. Webb, 21. White

By Alistair Beynon

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