Henley Hawks played London Irish Wild Geese for the first time last season following their promotion to National 2 South. Both results were very tight contests with the Hawks prevailing 25-24 at Dry Leas last December, before being beaten 41-35 in a very open encounter at Sunbury in April.
The Hawks travel to Hazelwood tomorrow in buoyant form having won four of their last five games which has seen them climb to sixth in the league. They will, however, not take anything for granted, especially when Wild Geese have two of the leagues top try scorers in George Owen (fullback) and Reon Joesph (wing) at their disposal. Despite their indifferent start to the season, their league position doesn't reflect the form they have been showing in recent games. Having won five games, including beating Clifton 33-31 in a thriller last weekend, they are currently fifth from bottom yet are the fifth highest scoring team in the league scoring 441 points and conceding the same total. A statistic that the Hawks will be very aware of.
After a good 43-28 victory over Worthing last Saturday, unfortunately the Hawks will not be at full strength for this game. This is particularly true in the front row with both Joe Morris and Brad Cook not available. To remedy the situation, Kieran Ball has joined the Club at loose head. Ball, who played for Oxford University in the recent Varsity match was formally at Redingensians. Club stalwart, Jim Hatfield comes on to the bench.
Alan Awcock is again not available but should regularly feature in the team for the remainder of the season. Liam O’Neill is recalled from the bench to play at centre.
With the Hawks scoring seven tries in their last game and with Wild Geese's reputation for try scoring, this should be an exciting encounter.
London Irish Wild Geese vs Henley Hawks (kick-off 3 pm)
1. Kieran Ball, 2. Tom Emery, 3. George Premett, 4. Dave Clements, 5. Jake Albon (capt.), 6. David Hyde, 7. Tommy Haynes, 8. Marcus Lowe 9. George Jackson, 10. Joe Butller, 11. Sam Portland, 12. Simon Perry, 13. Liam O’Neill, 14 Xavier Andre, 15. Jack Robinson
Replacements: 16. Jim Hadfield, 17. John Wunder, 18. Matthew Tibbatts, 19. Scott White, 20. Iwan McCrae