The Hawks travel west to Exmouth this Saturday ( kick-off 2 pm) to play the Devon side fot the first time on their ground which borders the Exe estuary. They gained promotion this season to Division 2 (South) after a close battle with Devon neighbours Barnstaple.
They have found the going tough in this the peak position in their history in an area dominated by Premiership Exeter Chiefs having won but one game of the seventeen played to date. Nevertheless they have not been out played utterly having accumulated nine bonus points which is one more than the Hawks.
Despite their difficulty in winning games they have scored 336 points which is only 61 fewer than the Hawks and indeed they tested the Hawks defence in the fourth game of the season at Dry Leas when they lost 43-38. The Hawks were indeed fortunate to secure a victory as Exmouth had a try disallowed in the dying minutes of the game in a match in which the Exmouth scrum held the whip hand in the set scrums in the second half. In conceding 671 points it must be said that their defence has been their achilles heel.
- The Hawks form at the turn of the year has been encouraging in drawingaway at Chinnor, when league leader,s andlast week defeating local rivals Redingensians 17-12 after an impressive first half display .However Exmouth shewed resilience last season when defeating Barnstaple to win automatic promotion against the odds and the Hawks must be aware that complacency could upset the progress they have made in recent weeks .
They are fortunate in that they are able to field the same squad, bar one, that played against Redingensians which has seldom if ever be the case for this season and last. Centre Connor Hayhow has a ham string problem but fortunately Alan Awcock has recovered from the injury which he suffered in the draw against Chinnor so he comes in to take his place..
Henley Hawks v Exmouth:
15. James Comben, 14. Xavier Andre, 13. Alan Awcock, 12. Liam O’Neill, 11. Simon Perry, 10. Joe Butler, 9. George Jackson, 1. Jim Hadfield, 2. Tom Emery, 3. Dave Manning, 4. Dave Clements, 5. Jake Albon, 6.Tom Hall, 7. Rob Bell, 8. Dave Hyde.
16.Brad Cook, 17. Stuart Philpott, 18. Connor Morrison, 19. Marcus Lowe, 20. James Stevenson-Wright