By Rob Heginbotham
Henley Vultures made their first away trip into London proper this season to play the illustrious Harlequin Amateur Vets in the Surrey Vets League, and consolidated their position at the top of the table with a strong 46-15 victory.
Playing on the banks of the Thames in the shadow of the Lensbury club, a crisp clear day and firm playing surface allowed the Vultures to produce plenty of their trademark flowing rugby.
The powerful Vultures pack was quickly into gear, led by the imperious Matt Payne, and they dismantled the Harlequins set piece. Scrum turnovers led to Payne and Captain Campbell combining to set winger Kaz Meloshi free for 2 tries, one of which was from his own 22.
Although playing into the wind, the Vultures exhibited some slick handling, which delivered tries for the brothers Adrian and Nick Smith, and also for full back Dot Cotton, which meant a half-time score of 29-0 to the Vultures.
Henley made several changes after the break, and the 2nd half was a much more even affair, with both sides scoring 3 tries, and featuring some titanic battles between former Hawks skipper Mark Venner and his brother, who played many times for Harlequins at the top level. Further tries for the Vultures came from skipper Campo, Robin “Giggsy” Nicholas, and David O’Leary, on the scoresheet for the 2nd successive week.
The 2nd half showed that Quins were no push-over, and the game overall was played in excellent spirit. Man of the Match for his excellent performance was Matt Payne.
Next up for the Vultures is a mid-week first round Oxfordshire Cup game against Abingdon, before returning to Surrey Vets league action against London Irish Vets at home on Saturday 9th February.