Hawks Hit Westcombe Park for Six

Henley Hawks 43-26 Westcombe Park

Henley Hawks scored six tries in a resounding 43-26 bonus point triumph over a resilient Westcombe Park at Dry Leas on Saturday.

It was a comprehensive performance from Henley who looked sharp from the outset, scoring some fantastic tries to move themselves back to fourth place in a very competitive National 2 East.

Hooker, Istok Totic sealed a brace for the home side whilst a hattrick for Combe’s captain, Nick Cook meant the visitors came away with a try bonus point themselves for their efforts.

Henley drew first blood after Totic powered over from a well-worked driving maul. There was no sign of any post-Christmas malaise from the Hawks who were determined to get back to winning ways following their defeat to Old Albanian just before the festive break.

However, Westcombe Park refused to lie down and quickly hit back following Cook’s fantastic solo effort, although Henley will look back at some questionable defensive work that allowed the big Number 8 to glide through with ease. Nathan Wyman was narrowly wide with his conversion attempt to make it 7-5 to the home side.

In what was proving to be a real end-to-end contest, an excellent Toby Evans break in midfield was well finished by Ryan Crowley on 15 minutes to extend the Hawks lead, before a Max Titchener penalty pulled Henley two scores clear.

It got even better for the home side as further tries from Kaspar Strugar, following a rampaging Sam Lunnon run and an outrageous solo effort from George Wood, who collected the ball in his own half, dodged his way past several defenders to touch down by the posts, gave Henley a 29-5 halftime advantage. With a try bonus point already secured, it was an excellent first 40 minutes for the Hawks.

Combe came out firing after the restart with Cook the first man to pounce on a loose ball to narrow the gap. However, Totic grabbed a second following another driving maul to seal the contest for Henley.

Captain Cook capped a fine performance with his third for Combe before Will Crow scored Henley’s sixth following another excellent Sam Lunnon break. The second row was in sublime form for Henley which will have been pleasing to see for the coaching unit.

Jonathan Ilori’s wonderful effort on the stroke of full-time earned Combe a deserved bonus point, but it was Luke Allen’s men who came away far happier following a very encouraging display.

With a visit to third placed Bury St. Edmunds next Saturday, Henley will make the journey to Suffolk with real confidence going into what promises to be a fantastic contest between two in-form sides.

Henley

Evans, Wood, Crowley, Hakimian, Strugar (Gibbins 55), Titchener, Webb (Crow 49), Manning (Bailey 67), Totic (Emery 49), Mason, Lowe, Lunnon, Benning (White 55), Vooght, Taylor (Benning 73)

Reps: Emery, Bailey, White, Crow, Gibbins

By Alistair Beynon

Photo credit: Andrew Turner

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