Henley Hawks start 2018 with an away game at Cinderford tomorrow (kick-off 2.30pm). The hosts, who are second in Division 2 (South) are just a solitary point behind leaders Chinnor, who are the only team to have beaten them this season. It'll be a tough proposition for the Hawks who suffered a very heavy defeat to Cinderford at Dry Leas back in early September. However, the Hawks are a far different side from earlier in the season and have put together a string of good performances of late. Indeed, they will take a great deal of confidence into the game having gone toe-to-toe with Chinnor just before Christmas in a fantastic match that was narrowly won by the league leaders, 33-28 in front of a bumper crowd of over 900 people.
This improved form has been in no small manner due to the ability to field more consistent sides. With more regular availability of players and a style of play resulting in regular accumulation of bonus points, it promises to be an exciting encounter.
There are just four changes in the selected line up from the Chinnor game. Three relate to the front row, one positional, with Brad Cook returning to loose head, Tom Emery to hooker and George Primett swtiching to tight head. However, outside the scrum, injury has meant that Joe Butler will not be able to continue his partnership at half-back with George Jackson, who with 116 points is now the fifth highest points scorer in the league.
Butler’s place at fly half will be taken by Alan Awcock, the Hawks’ most experienced back who featured in the Premiership whilst with London Welsh.
Cinderford vs Henley Hawks - Saturday, 6th January, Kick-off 2.30pm
1. Brad Cook, 2. Tom Emery, 3. George Primett, 4. Dave Clements, 5. Jake Albon (capt.), 6. David Hyde, 7. Tommy Haynes, 8. Matthew Tibbatts, 9. George Jackson, 10. Alan Awcock, 11 Sam Portland, 12. Simon Perry, 13. Liam O’Neill, 14 Xavier Andre, 15. Jack Robinson
16. Kieran Ball, 17. John Wunder, 18. Joe Morris, 19. Scott White, 20. Adam Lubbock