Henley Hawks Women beat top of the table, Cheltenham, at Dry Leas with a 7-0 win on a very wet and muddy Sunday.
The Hawks started strongly with precise running lines from Wheeler and Hearn (sponsored by Loddon Brewery) with hard tackles being made by Cheltenham. A knock on from the Hawks resulted in a Cheltenham scrum with their runners being halted by Matthews and Ashman.
With the clock stopped for injuries for both teams, they took a minute to regroup and get warm, with the Hawks winning the scrum, under Dudding’s command, Henley continued to make ground.
A Cheltenham line out resulted in a maul which Henley did not engage with, ending in a Henley scrum, fantastic hooking from Simpson allowed the Hawks to use their strong forwards and gain ground inch by inch. A quick turnover meant that Cheltenham were able to use their strong backs and run the ball in using quick lines, quick tackles from Solowin (sponsored by King of Cleans) stopped them in their tracks. Cheltenham continued to utilise their backs and put the Hawks under pressure by kicking in Hearn’s direction, a task which she took in her stride and set the ball perfectly for the forwards to continue gaining ground.
A quick turnover in the ruck meant that the Hawks needed to defend, something which they proved they were able to do with confidence and conviction. However after a forward pass, Cheltenham took the ball over the try line, but this was disallowed by the referee.
HALF TIME SCORE: 0-0.
Substitution at 45 minutes, Williams off, Humphries on.
The Hawks continued to show drive and with Humphries making a big impact on the wing, running clear lines and setting the ball up safely.
At 52 minutes a Hawks line-out showed that the wet and muddy conditions were taking a toll but the Hawks were able to show that their hard work would not go unnoticed and the ball was passed into Dudding’s reliable hands and through the backs to Lizzie Hearn who took on the opposition and secured the first try of the game for Hawks. Converted by Hearn. Score 7-0.
55 minutes substitution for the Hawks, Dudding off, Burger on.
The Hawks continued to utilise their strong forward pack working in pods to carry the ball over the game line continually.
A Cheltenham scrum allowed Simpson to once again show her talent as the Hawks won the ball and Burger was able to run the ball into contact and secure the Hawks with possession.
60 minutes substitution for Henley, Thompson off, Wilkie on.
A Cheltenham line out put the Hawks back in defence, with confident and strong tackles from Wysocki-Jones and Balmer keeping Cheltenham at bay.
Injury for Ashman stopped the clock before a Cheltenham scrum down.
65 minutes substitution for Henley, Collins off, Timmins on. Ashman off, Davies on.
Cheltenham proved that they too, could persevere in the treacherous conditions and forced Hawks to defend the line. Strong tackles from Davies and Wilkie continued to keep Cheltenham on the back foot.
69 minutes, yellow card for Cheltenham after punching Balmer in the ruck.
A winning Henley scrum allowed the backs to gain ground by Craig, Burger and Solowin carrying strongly and Matthews continuing to beat the game line with strong rolls and carries.
A penalty against Cheltenham allowed the Hawks to make the quick decision to get the ball to Hearn who showed her ability to kick the ball out of the field, ending the game on a high for the Hawks.
Player of the match for the Hawks was Lizzie Hearn and coaches player was Tina Simpson.
The Hawks now face Hove at home on the 28th of January.
Henley Hawks Women: 1 Van Der Grient, 2 Simpson, 3 Matthews, 4 Wysocki-Jones, 5 Ashman, 6 Balmer, 7 Collins, 8 Wheeler, 9 Davidson, 10 Dudding, 11 Williams, 12 Craig, 13 Solowin (sponsored by King of Cleans), 14 Thompson, 15 Hearn (sponsored by Loddon Brewery), 16 Sealey, 17 Davies, 18 Timmins, 19 Humphreys, 20 Wilkie, 21 Burger.