Hawks all set for Barnes clash

By Nick Pitson

Following the superb victory away at Bury St Edmunds last Saturday, the Hawks will be bristling with confidence for their first home game of the season against South West London side, Barnes at Dry Leas tomorrow. Kick-off 3pm. 

Barnes are newly promoted to National 2 (South) this season having been promoted as champions of London and South East Premier last term. However, they have played at this level before, for just one season in 2016-17 when they comfortably defeated the Hawks 36-14 at Barn Elms. Henley had their revenge later in the season (18-16) which was part of a run of nine successive defeats for Barnes that eventually led to relegation.

The Hawks will have to be at their best however, as the visitors have bounced back into Level 4 rugby at the first attempt and started the season with an impressive bonus point victory, 33-14 over London Irish Wild Geese last Saturday.

At Bury St Edmunds last week, Henley showed a clinical side to their performance as they capitalised on numerous mistakes that the hosts made. The set pieces went well, the new players made their mark while Joe Butler organised things from outside half in a man of the match performance. The Hawks will be in buoyant mood and will be hoping for a bumper crowd to cheer them on and build on the six-try Bury performance.

Flanker, Tom Hall is set to make his 100th appearance in Hawks colours. Hall, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury has been back to his best form of late.

Hawks Head Coach, Luke Allen has made three changes for Saturday's game despite Saturday's excellent win over Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. A new look front row which features Ian Stock and Dave Manning at prop replace Brad Cook and Rory Mason who switch to the bench, highlighting the depth the Hawks find themselves in the front row this season.

Elsewhere, Simon Perry comes in for Xavier Andre at centre who picked up a knock against Bury.

Allen said 'Despite Saturday's excellent win, we have to be able to back that performance up and make sure we put in a another solid display against Barnes. They had a great result on Saturday against London Irish Wild Geese, so we're certainly not taking anything for granted and will need to be at our best to come away with the win'.

Henley Hawks:

 1. Ian Stock, 2. Tom Emery, 3. Dave Manning, 4. David Hyde, 5. Jake Albon, 6. Sam Lunnon (c), 7. Tom Hall, 8. Marcus Lowe, 9. Leo Webb, 10. Joe Butler, 11. George Wood, 12. Simon Perry, 13. Conor Morrison, 14. Sam Portland, 15. Sam Randle

Replacements: 16. Brad Cook, 17. Rory Mason, 18. Alex Bradley 19. Ross McDougall, 20. Jack Robinson, 21. Roddy Giles