Hawks lose out to Worthing in sixteen try extravaganza

Worthing Raiders 55-41 Henley Hawks

Henley slipped to their third defeat in a row as the Raiders outscored them by nine tries to seven in a sixteen try extravaganza on the Sussex coast on Saturday afternoon. The Hawks last victory, away at Bury St. Edmunds on March 10th, now means the side have won only once in the past eight games. 

The opening pattern of the game was much the same in several matches this season. The Hawks immediately took to the game deep into the Raiders territory, and established a driving maul which led to flanker Tom Hall crossing over after just five minutes play. Scrum Half, George Jackson's trusty boot kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead. 

They continued to put pressure on the home defence and this gave wing, Connor Hayhow the opportunity to glide through the Raiders defence to touch down after just ten minutes play. This was also converted by Jackson to put the Hawks 14-0. 

It didn't take Worthing long to get on the scoreboard, and two tries in quick succession pulled the score back to 14-10 despite the ever-reliable Matt McLean missing both conversions. Worthing were playing with confidence, despite lock, Joe Spurgeon being in the sin-bin.

Worthing's return to numerical parity didn't last long when wing, Jack Haslem was shown a straight red card for illegal use of an elbow in a tackle. However, despite their man advantage, Henley struggled to take a firm foothold of the game. Despite leaving his kicking boots in the changing room, McLean was creating excellent opportunities in open play and some strong running from the Fly Half saw him score his second try of the afternoon to give his side a narrow 15-14 lead.

The ding-dong nature of the game with defences being fully stretched, saw scores for Hawks Number 8, Marcus Lowe being countered by Raiders prop, Jide Ayayi bursting over to make the score 22-19 to the home side. The try was converted by McLean, who had now located his kicking boots.

The Hawks, however, launched one final attack before half time with a typical Jack Robinson try. The Fullback bustling his way over after pinning the defence close to the corner flag. Jackson missed the tricky conversion, but the Hawks led 24-22 at half time. 

After the break, with the Hawks unable to dominate the scrums despite their numerical advantage, did get a good supply of ball from their own put-ins without being able to drive the Raiders off the ball. However, Worthing had the benefit of a wily scrum-half in Matt Walsh, whose tactical prowess was instrumental in creating a personal converted score and a similar score for full back Mcllwaine to give the home side a useful 36—24 lead.

The Hawks rallied with tries by Hayhow, their main strike runner and a determined effort by flanker Scott White. Unfortunately, neither of these tries were converted and the tip tap nature of the game continued with these scores being countered by Raiders replacement, George Harris.

With the score at 41-34 in favour of the Raiders, the Hawks rallied and swept to the Worthing line where lock David Hyde was able to use his talent as a flanker to break through and touch down near to the posts for Jackson to slot the conversion.

Now with the score at 41-41 with less than five minutes of time left, the odds were on a draw. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the depleted Raiders had different views and they swept to the Hawks line with converted tries by Kiba Richards and Sims to make the final score, 55-41 to the Raiders and left the Hawks with considerable soul searching to do. 

Next up is London Irish Wild Geese at Dry Leas this Saturday, April 21st with a 3pm kick-off. Please come down and support the lads as it's the final home game of the season. 

Match Photos courtesy of Steve Karpa;


Henley Hawks

15. Jack Robinson, 14. Xavier Andre, 13. Liam O’Neil, 12. Will Janes, 11. Connor Hayhow, 10 Joe Butler, 9. George Jackson. 1. Dave Manning {Brad Cook  62), 2. Tom Emery (Jaun Wunder 63), 3. Brad Cook (George Primeter 52), 4. Dave Clements, 5. David Hyde, 6. Tom Hall (Max Berry  41), 7. Scott White, 8. Marcus Lowe