Hawks Share Spoils Thanks to Two Last Minute Tries

Westcombe Park 19-19 Henley Hawks

Two tries in the final five minutes saw Henley Hawks come away from a physical contest with a share of the spoils against Westcombe Park on Saturday.

The home side had built a seemingly unassailable 19-7 lead heading into the final minutes before late tries from Ryan Crowley and Leo Webb saw Henley leave Orpington with two points for their efforts.

Playing with the wind at their backs in the first half, the Hawks looked threatening throughout the first period, but couldn’t quite open up the home sides defence which coped well with whatever Henley threw at them.

Indeed, it was Westcombe Park who opened the scoring against the run of play when wing Toby Wallace picked up a loose ball to escape into the Hawks 22. His deft pass fed in scrum half Ricki Gould to put the home side on the board, and with Wallace adding the extras, Park went in at half time with a 7-0 lead.

The hosts extended their lead 8 minutes into the second half when Dan Shergold put the finishing touches on another try that was started from a loose ball that was gleefully hacked on. With the wind picking up, kicking was always going to be a tricky assignment and Wallace missed the conversion which kept the scoreline at 12-0 to the home side.

With Westcombe Park captain Nick Cook picking up a yellow card and the hosts reduced to 14 men, Henley quickly took advantage and got a foothold in the game with 20 minutes remaining when Alex Bradley crossed the whitewash following concerted scrum pressure. Max Titchener, back in action following a couple of months out with a broken finger, converted and Henley were right back in it at 12-7.

However, any hopes of a quick comeback were extinguished a few minutes later when second row, Joshua-Daniel Smith scored a third for the home side following a well executed driving maul. Wallace added the extras and Park had a 19-7 lead heading into the final 13 minutes.

However, this Henley side never know when they are beaten, and helped by poor discipline from the home side which saw back row Rafael Dutta yellow carded, followed shortly afterwards by Gould, the home side were reduced to 13 men for the final 10 minutes and the Hawks quickly took advantage.

First, it was the impressive Crowley who spotted a large gap in midfield to power his way over out wide to reduce the score to 19-12, with Titchener short with his conversion attempt against a strong headwind. This was followed by Webb’s late heroics following a sensational George Wood break with the final play of the game, and with Titchener nailing the conversion this time around, Henley came away with a deserved draw.

Next up for the Hawks is the visit of Canterbury to Dry Leas for the final home game of the season this coming Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Hawks: 15. Oatley, 14. Gibbins, 13. Crowley, 12. Rawsthorn, 11. Wood, 10. Hakimian, 9. Webb, 1. Manning, 2. Emery, 3. Mason, 4. Hayton, 5. Taylor, 6. Benning, 7. White, 8. Benning

Reps: 16. Macrae, 17. Collins, 18. Titchener, 19. Floyd, 20. Vooght

Match photo courtesy of Dave Barnes

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