Beckenham 15-20 Henley Hawks
An electrifying showdown unfolded this Sunday as Henley Hawks Women took on Beckenham in a gruelling battle on the rugby pitch. The stage was set for a riveting contest, with last year’s nail-biting 29-29 draw fresh in memory.
From the opening kick-off, it was clear that both teams had come prepared for an epic clash. Beckenham surged through the middle, making impressive strides up the field. Yet, Henley’s relentless pressure forced Beckenham to make a costly error, surrendering possession.
The first ten minutes witnessed an intense struggle, with both sides attempting compelling runs but repeatedly thwarted by relentless defence and multiple knock-ons. A string of penalties against Beckenham handed Henley an opportunity to advance up the field. With precision and determination, Henley’s forwards executed a well-organized driving maul, inching closer to the try line. This set the stage for Robinson to break through the Beckenham defence and touch down, although the conversion attempt fell short.
Undeterred by the early setback, Beckenham retaliated fiercely. They fought back valiantly, driving Henley deep into their own 22. Beckenham relentlessly hammered away through the middle, gradually breaking through Henley’s stout defence. After a series of defensive phases, Beckenham finally crossed the whitewash, tying the score at 5-5.
Sensing the need to regain the lead, Henley wasted no time, putting immense pressure on Beckenham. Despite Henley’s defensive prowess, Beckenham maintained their relentless assault, and Henley found themselves defending desperately on their 5-meter line. The Hawks stood their ground, repelling wave after wave of Beckenham’s attack, but as Beckenham spread the ball wide, a well-timed interception by Claudia Obst turned the tide. Obst embarked on a remarkable 95-meter sprint, diving over the try line to put Henley ahead 10-5, though the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
The second half kicked off with both teams showing unwavering determination to assert their dominance. Both sides executed powerful running plays, breaking through defensive lines, yet struggled to convert their efforts into points. Ten minutes into the second half, Henley earned a penalty that carried them within five meters of Beckenham’s line. A strong driving maul pushed them over the try line, seemingly securing a try for Fern Elgar. However, to Henley’s dismay, the try was disallowed for reasons unbeknownst to all.
Undeterred, Henley Hawks fought back, launching a series of relentless strike moves that marched Beckenham deep into their own 22. With nimble footwork and sheer determination, Henley’s backs maneuvered the team right up to the try line. The Hawks’ forwards displayed unyielding patience and resilience, relentlessly battering the Beckenham defence until Ellie Smales finally scored, extending the lead to 15-5.
Beckenham was determined to stage a comeback, and ill-discipline from Henley allowed the hosts to take multiple quick taps, gaining crucial ground. Once more, Henley found themselves defending their try line for numerous phases. After an exhaustive seven-minute defensive effort, Beckenham exploited an overlap and quick hands in the backs, scoring out wide and narrowing the gap to 15-12. Shortly after, Beckenham capitalized on a penalty, adding three more points to tie the game at 15-15.
The final minutes of the match were marked by fierce determination from both sides. Henley Hawks maintained crucial possession, relentlessly driving Beckenham back into their half. Phase after phase, they inched closer to the try line, with relentless forwards and agile backs leaving no stone unturned. A well-earned penalty allowed Henley to kick for territory, placing them just 5 meters from the try line. A tremendous effort from the forwards finally paid off when Wilmore’s monumental run saw Henley breaking through the Beckenham defence, sealing the victory with a score of 20-15. The conversion attempt fell short, but it mattered little.
With the clock winding down, Beckenham fought valiantly to regain possession, but Henley stood firm. They retained the ball and played out the final moments, securing their fourth consecutive victory in a breathtaking display of rugby. The final score, 20-15, cemented Henley Hawks’ triumphant performance on the road.
Match photos courtesy of Andrew Turner
By Gen Moody