Despite having lost their last four matches in a row, the Hawks will be hoping to end their National 2 South campaign on a high note when they make the short journey down the A4 to Sonning, to take on local rivals, Redingensians Rams on Saturday.
Billed as ‘The Battle of the Thames’, the two sides last met at Dry Leas on the first day of the season and despite a poor first half in which they found themselves 24-10 down at half time, the Hawks responded well after the break and ran out 28-24 winners in an entertaining contest. Since then, the Rams have produced some scintillating form which has seen them rise to third place in the league table – a platform upon which they will be looking to build on for next season.
The Hawks, despite showing a good run of form in the build up to Christmas, have had a very mixed 2018. At one stage battling hard to be top four contenders, they have fallen away badly over recent months and now find themselves in ninth place in the league. If results go their way, then a seventh place finish is not beyond the realms of possibility. However, they will need to rediscover their form from November and December if they hope to overcome a very strong Redingensians side.
The team shows several changes from the side that lost to London Irish Wild Geese last Saturday. In the pack, Dave Manning returns at tighthead in place of George Primett who drops to the bench, whilst Tom Hall returns to the starting line-up at openside flanker. It will be an emotional occasion on Saturday afternoon as the side will be lead out by Dave Clements, playing in his final game for the Hawks before hanging up his boots. Another Club stalwart, Tommy Haynes will also be playing his last game in Hawks colours as well. Both men will be wanting to end their playing careers on a high.
In the backs, Sam Portland returns on the wing in place of Toby Venner. Young guns, Toby Howe and man of the match from last weekend, Will Janes will look to build on their recent encouraging performances as they go searching for that elusive victory that all Hawks supporters are desperately craving.
Redingensians Rams vs Henley Hawks – Saturday, March 28th, kick-off 3pm.
1. Brad Cook, 2. Tom Emery, 3. Dave Manning, 4. Dave Clements (capt), 5. David Hyde, 6. Tommy Haynes, 7. Tom Hall, 8. Marcus Lowe, 9. George Jackson, 10. Toby Howe, 11. Sam Portland, 12. Will Janes, 13. Liam O'Neill, 14, Xavier Andre, 15. Jack Robinson
Replacements: 16. Kieran Ball, 17. George Primett, 18. John Wunder, 19. Scott White, 20. Joe Butler