Cardiff Metropolitan University 14 - 40 Henley Hawks
Henley travelled to Cardiff on Saturday in the next phase of their pre-season preparations and produced an emphatic win against a side dogged student team. Cardiff Met, formally UWIC and Cardiff College, have a strong reputation for producing quality players many of whom go onto international honours.
Henley had a dream start scoring twice in under five minutes to take a 14-0 lead. The first score came from excellent set-piece and relentless driving from the forwards to create space for Ryan O Neill to step his opposite number and put in a great offload for Sam Randle to score under the posts. Joe Butler added the extras. From the kick off, superbly taken by Jake Albon, the visitors attacked again and quality lineout ball enabled Tom Hall to break the line with the ball being recycled to Jack Robinson who scored wide out, once again Butler added the extras.
Such was the dominance of the Henley forwards that the pressure was to show once again and this enabled Marcus Lowe to score a good try. On 15 minutes, after slick inter-passing and then some incessant forward driving, enabled Rory Mason to score his debut try for the club and seal a good all-round performance. Butler again converted well.
The set-piece was working well and this provided the platform to attack, however some early season errors crept into the game with lost ball and more handling errors. However, the visitors did show good resilience to thwart any danger from the pacey college backs with some ferocious defence at times.
Then right on the stroke of half time Butler put Robinson on another strong run to the corner with the winger outpacing the opposition to score his second try.
The second half was played into a strong wind, and the game became a rather scrappy affair as both sides rang the changes to enable their full squads vital game time. This gave the students opportunities to run in two breakaway tries to reduce the arrears. However, Henley were not without their fair share of chances as some of the younger players staked their claim for starting places.
This pressure saw Scott White crashing over from wide out with young Pieterson adding a good conversion to take the final score to 40 points to 14.
All in all a good day out for the whole squad as Henley used 28 players to good effect. There were some pleasing aspects, particularly the set piece plays and defence was very positive most of the time. As the side are fully aware there are much more challenging tasks ahead this season.
Next up is the Inter-Squad match this Thursday, August 23rd at Dry Leas, kick-off 7.30pm. It will be a good opportunity for all supporters to see the whole squad in action as the players make their cases to be included in the squad for the first game of the 2018/19 National 2 South campaign, away at Bury St. Edmunds on Saturday, September 1st.