This Saturday Henley Hawks are looking to build on the success of a satisfying home victory, 33 – 22 against Canterbury last week.
Yet again they are also playing a side striving hard to avoid relegation as Barnes are in fourteenth place four below the Hawks and nine points adrift. Yet theirs has been a ‘curate’s egg’ of a season for although they have only won four games, four fewer than the Hawks, they have earned only nine fewer league points thanks to fifteen bonus points including three drawn games. Nine of their bonus points have come from scoring four tries. Yet they have scored a total of only 423 points in total against 616 by the Hawks. Only Worthing and Barnstaple have scored fewer points, 417..
This game is a replay of the game that was frozen off on January 21st and the return fixture of the match played at Barnes on 1st October which is generally acknowledged to be the Hawks’ worst performance of the season when in a very poor defensive performance they lost 36- 14 conceding five tries in the process.
Director pf Rugby, Nigel Dudding, has been working hard to strengthen the Hawks side in preparation for this game and to avoid slipping away into the relegation zone. Loan agreements, which will be in force until the end of the season, have been signed with three players registered with London Scottish the Championship side and these feature in the team selected to play Barnes.
Wing Ben Rath takes over from Sam Portland who is not available this week and Connor Hayhow continues at centre.
There are also adjustments in the pack. The front row, who gave an assured performance particularly in the line outs last week, remains intact. Skipper Dave Clements returns to the second row with David Hyde reverting to No.6. Tom Hall after two weeks away returns to the bench . In the absence of Rob Bell the ever reliable Tommy Haynes is at No. 8.
The Hawks will need to be on their guard against a resilient side who make the most of their chances!
15. Liam O’Neill, 14. Simon Perry, 13. Xavier Andre, 12. Connor Hayhow, 11. Ben Rath, 10. Joe Butler, 9. George Jackson, 1. Dave Manning, 2.Tom Emery, 3.Ziana Montout-Alexis,4. Dave Clements (capt.), 5 .Jake Albon 6.David Hyde, 7. Marcus Lowe, 8. Tommy Haynes
16. Jim Hadfield, 17. Stuart Philpott, 18. Tom Hall, 19. Scott White, 20. James Stevenson-Wright