Henley Hawks Women 12 - Saracens 5
Having built from week to week, today all that hard work paid off.
Winning the toss, the Hawks chose to receive the kick off, the perfect start however silly handling errors from both teams meant there was scrum after scrum and much of the game was played in the middle of the park, it was clear that this was going to be a tough match.
Hawks line speed was good and the consistent pressure on the Saracens 10 by Pruszkowski forced the errors and allowed Hawks to gain possession and set a platform at the set piece. Hawks started building the phases with some tidy forward running off Leeds around the rucks, unfortunately turnover ball by Saracens saw the nine ship the ball to the blindside winger who ran down the touch line to score, no conversion 0-5 Saracens.
Receiving the ball the Hawks built the phases, steadily gaining field position starting to look dangerous with some strong runs from Balmer, Ferguson and Barclay-Klingle force Saracens to make some silly mistakes and give away a few penalties. The Hawks playing the advantage saw the ball go through the hands to Wilkie, the ref called advantage over just as Wilkie was inches from the line but tackled into touch. Hawks in the gold zone despite not having the ball continued to put pressure on Saracens again forcing the mistake and receiving a penalty metres from the line. Wheeler tapped and went, powering over the line, 5 – 5. Dudding with the conversion, having to improvise with a roll of tape for a tee slotted the ball through the uprights 7 – 5. Half time and for the first time this season we were going into the second half in the lead.
Substitution at half time Sealey off for Nash on the blindside flank. Handling errors in the middle of the pack gave the Hawks the platform to build phases, break from the back on the scrum from Wheeler who popped the ball to Murray drawing the Saracens winger got the offload to Kingman but tackled into touch.
Ball to Hearn who kick down the field and a great chase from Murray, MacFarland and Groves got the Hawks into the Saracens 22. Hawks remained in the 22 for what seemed like ages, great distribution and control from Leeds allowed the Hawks to stick to their game plan and build the phases. Dudding and Hearn making good ground but just short from the line. Keeping composed, Hawks continued with pick and go creating some space for Balmer to dive over the line, frustratingly called held up. Substitution Barclay-Klingle off for Sealey to prop and Murray making way for Timmins.
Remaining composed and focused the Hawks continued to build with everyone offering excellent running line to gain ground. Nash screaming for the ball now playing on the wing, a little show and go from Balmer got her over the gain line, offload round the back to Nash allowed her to finish in the corner: 12 – 5 Hawks with 10 minutes to go. Substitution Pruszkowski making way for Hamilton-Foster to come on at 2nd row.
Saracens taking a quick restart, maybe too quick as their 12 scuffed the kick and the ball not making ten, Hawks opting for a scrum. Last push from Saracens saw pressure on the Hawks forcing silly mistakes and Saracens turning over the ball and breaking through, some great scrambled defence and cover tackles from fullback MacFarland prevented Saracens from getting over the line. Minutes to go scrum to Saracens in the Hawks 22 but pressure from Timmins and Dudding made the 10 knock it on, scrum down to Henley. All that had to be done now was win the scrum which Ferguson had been doing all day and keep the ball for the last seconds. Hawks did exactly that, Dudding and Hearn hassling the ref for final play, final play called ball from Leeds to Dudding to Hearn to clear the ball. Game over 12-5 and the Hawks mark their first win!! Brilliant Game
A couple of weeks’ rest now before we embark on the first cup game having been given a 'by' in the first round.
Coaches' Player to Nash
Players' Players to Barclay-Klingle
Squad: 1. Barclay-Klingle, 2. Ferguson, 3. Matthews, 4. Balmer, 5. Kingman, 6. Sealey, 7. P, 8. Wheeler, 9. Leeds, 10. Dudding (sponsored by Seamus Jeffs), 11. Wilkie, 12. Hearn (sponsored by Loddon Brewery), 13. Groves, 14. Murray, 15. MacFarland, 16. Timmins, 17. Nash, 18. Hamilton-Foster.