Henley Hawks V Southend Saxons Match Report
Conveyancing Data Services are proud team sponsors of the Henley Hawks. The following is a match report from Saturday 10th January’s game where they played against Southend Saxons at Southend’s home ground. Our very own James Comben played at Fly Half. Henley Hawks’ next game is home at Dry Leas on Saturday 17th January at 15.00 playing against Cornish All Blacks.
HAWKS STUTTER TO THIRD DEFEAT AWAY TO SAXONS IN LAST SECONDS
by Nick Burden
Henley Hawks' inconsistent form continued as they lost to Southend Saxons in the last seconds of the game.
Played in windy but dry conditions on a sticky muddy pitch, in short the most unfavourable conditions to their preferred style of open play using their pace with the ball in hand.
The Saxons had the advantage of the blustery play from the kick -off and with their heavy pack dominated the game in terms of territory for the first forty minutes The Hawks found it difficult to use their backs not only because of the Saxons physical forward play but also their self-inflicted slipshod handling and passing. In the first ten minutes they either dropped passes or failed to keep the ball because of poor continuity. The Saxons took advantage of a knock on in their 22 set up driving mauling attacks the second of which led to a try after two minutes play by flanker Harry Hudson who ran in from an unguarded blindside.. This try was not converted by fly-half Bradley Burr bur their five point lead became 8-0 eight minutes later when he kicked a straight forward penalty
The Hawks had few opportunities to build pressure to score to reduce this lead apart from a penalty which Southend conceded in their 22 after Piers O'Conor had made a significant break. However James Comben was unable to put the Hawks on the scoreboard from in front of the posts in the tricky wind conditions.
The Hawks were further handicapped and went further behind when the Saxons used the advantage they now had in the set scrums to drive hooker Adam Ferrier over for their second unconverted try to make the score 13-0 at half time.
The Hawks made a promising start to the second half gaining possession and using the ball to threaten the Southend line. After 44 minutes moving the able from right to left allowed No. 8 Oscar Hirskyj-Douglas to sweep over to open the Hawks account which became seven points with a good conversion by Comben. They were now pressing to further reduce the Saxons lead who tackled effectively but a Comben penalty from close to the posts made the score 13-10. . Opportunities to score again were now burgeoning. Scrum-half Parker made good progress but a possible scoring pass was adjudged forward.
As the last quarter of the approached visibility became difficult for the referee had at last permitted floodlights to be switched on at half -time, although it is a requirement for their use are that they should be switched on at the start of the game if poor light can be anticipated .The disjointed nature of the game continued with the delay in retrieving the ball with the lack of provision of ball boys and only two balls made available for use.
The Hawks were now pressing hard for a further score with the game now mainly in the Saxons 22. They now produced the best handling move of the game when making gains towards the Southend line gave them the opportunity to switch play to the right and O'Conor was set free on a potential overlap but a try saving tackle stopped him .However they put in a drive from twenty metres and replacement lock Jake O'Leary stretched to score a try which again Comben converted to make the score 17-13.
It seemed that the Hawks were now sufficiently in charge to win the game. But errors let the home side back into the game Crucially they lost a line out awarded to them for a penalty and the Saxons thereupon dominated possession for the last ten minutes of the game. Their pack were now in charge of proceedings and effectively snuffed out the Hawks chances of getting away from their 22 by winning three line outs. They were thus pinned to ten metres from their line. They kept the Saxons at bay with determined defence tackling harsh and driving them back from their line but Hirskyj Douglas was given a yellow card for a side approach to a maul which made defence more difficult. They prevented the Saxons driving over although conceding three penalties The Hawks held out until the Saxons switched tactics and the ball went to fly half Burr and an accurate kick to the corner which was caught at full stretch by centre Tom Ashton who touched down the winning try as full time was called after the conversion was missed.
Overall a disappointing game for the Hawks who failed to organise and execute their game against a side that were more streetwise. However the bonus point earned has kept them in top position n the league with a superior point difference over Dorking.
15. Piers O'Conor, 14. Xavier Andre, 13. Fred Pierrepoint, 12. George Eastwell, 11. Jake Randall, 10. James Comben, 9. Tom Parker, 1. Hugo Milford Scott (Jimmy Litchfield 40), 2. Stuart Philpott, 3. Dave Manning, 4. Dave Clements, 5. Will Woodward (Jake O'Leary 54), 6. Robbie Stapley, 7. Tom Hall, 8. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas.
Subs Not Used Tom Allen, Tim Coglhan, Lloyd Owen