Hawks Lose Out in Titanic Tussle

Bury St. Edmunds 26-14 Henley Hawks

Despite coming back from a 14-point deficit midway through the second half, Henley Hawks were ultimately outgunned by a strong Bury St. Edmunds side on Saturday afternoon, succumbing to a 26-14 loss and leaving empty handed in the process. It was a disappointing day for Luke Allen’s men who were trailing 19-14 heading into injury time, but a try at the death for the home side meant that Henley missed out on a losing bonus point for their efforts.

It was the Hawks who started the brighter of the two sides but great scrambling defence kept the Henley at bay, giving Bury a chance to clear their lines. However, it didn’t take long for the home side to click into gear and on their first foray into the Hawks 22, hooker Archie Bourne dodged past a couple of desperate tackles to power over the whitewash. Ben Penfold added the extras and Bury were 7-0 up after just five minutes of the contest gone.

Unfortunately, both sides cancelled each other out for the remainder of the half with chances few and far between. Henley had the edge on possession, but excellent defence from the home side kept any potential scoring opportunities to a minimum. With both teams heading into the changing rooms at half time with the score still at 7-0, Henley knew they would need to find inspiration from somewhere to come away with the win.

Sadly for the Hawks, the second half started in a similar vein to the first, with Bourne crossing for his second of the afternoon following patient build up play from the home side. Penfold converted and Henley were now really up against it at 14-0.

However, as with several times this season, the spirit and determination of the Hawks when their backs are against the wall can never be questioned. They slowly managed to find a foothold in the contest and with a yellow card awarded to the home side for a dangerous tackle, a kick to the corner from Max Titchener gave the Hawks an opportunity to revert to their trusty catch and drive. With Istok Totic the man to dot down at the back of an excellent rolling maul, Henley were finally on the scoreboard. Titchener nailed the conversion and it was back to a one score game at 14-7.

With their tails now up, Henley were starting to really assert their authority on the match. Another penalty for the Hawks gave Titchener the chance to kick to the corner again, and yet again it was Totic who was the man to power over for Henley’s second try. Titchener converted and the game was all square at 14-14.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, this was as good as it got. With George Wood in the sinbin for illegally stopping a penalty advantage for Bury, a melee ensued resulting in a further yellow card for both sides. With large gaps now appearing all over the pitch, it was ex-Henley centre, Samir Kharbouch on his 50th appearance for Bury who spotted one and charged over from 50 metres out to give Bury the lead again, much to the delight of the large crowd. Penfold missed the conversion, making it 19-14.

With Henley desperately trying to get back into the contest, a frenetic last 10 minutes saw both sides with opportunities to score. However, it was the home side who secured a try bonus point at the death with Mike Stanway crashing over to seal the contest in favour of the home side.

It was poor discipline again that cost Henley dear and a chance to leapfrog Bury into third place went begging. However, there were many positives to take from what was a pulsating contest between two very evenly matched sides.

Next up for Henley is a trip to basement side North Walsham this coming Saturday, 20 January 20. Kick-off is 3pm.

By Alistair Beynon

Photo credit: Beanstalk Media



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