Hawks Women go down to strong Old Albanian side

Henley Hawks Women 7-38 Old Albanian Saints

By Lisa Tavinor

With Old Albanians new to the league, having been promoted last season they were an unknown commodity.

From the start the conditions played their part.  After great carries form Katy Wysocki-Jones and Ellis Collins, Henley had made ground but unfortunately it was knocked on to hand the first scrum to Old Albanians. This was a strong scrum with both teams contesting well, but the visitors got great ball off the scrum and used their hands and pace well to run round and score their first try of the game. They continued the pressure for a further twenty minuets and profited from the conditions with two more tries.

After securing the restart Old Albanians used their hard runners in the forwards. Henley applied the pressure through good tackling and body position from Katie Philips to turn over the ball. Henley built up the phases and gained some ground to get us in to their half but unfortunately it was knocked on to give Old Albanians the scrum. The rainy conditions were taking its tool as Old Albanians knocked on at the scrum to give the ball back to Henley. Henley used the ball well and took it down the hands to Shannon Loney who was pushed into touch giving Old Albanians the line out. The line was disrupted and captured by Tina Simpson to give Henley the ball. Henley had started to make better progress with good pace off ten to make ground through Katy WJ and Sam Page. This gave a strong platform off the ruck for their backs and great pace and lines, meant that Shannon Loney had a blazing run through the middle to score Henley a try. This made the half time score 7-19 to the visitors.

Old Albanians started the second half in a similar fashion to the first. They continued to make hard yards through their backs and used their pace to score two more tries. Henley then put them under pressure for the next twenty minutes and brought fresh legs on to help keep the momentum going. This was halted by a bad injury to Ellis Collins which stopped the game for five minutes and then a further injury to Anne-Marie Shrimpton. Henley continued to try to break through Old Albanians defences but to no avail, as knock ons and turn overs gave the opposition the ball. They were quick to react, and this led to two further scores making the final score Henley 7 Old Albanians 38.

Player’s player of the Match - Scrum half Olive McNaney and Coaches player of the Match – Co-Captain Katy Wysocki-Jones

Head Coach Joe Harwood's thoughts;

Congratulations to Old Albanians who have started faultlessly in their debut season in this league. 

All we, as a coaching team, asked for from the players was improvement from the performance against Trojans two weeks ago. And, despite the scoreline, we got that. 

Our set piece gave us parity if not better than that at times, we went hunting for the ball in defence and we attacked wider. Retaining possession well. For large parts of the match we looked very good and as i say, showed great improvement. Which is very encouraging. 

We as a coaching and playing group and as a team realise that we gave OA's a head start again with two early tries. Which we cannot afford to do at this level. We also gave the opposition several very soft tries which came from individual errors. 

We'll learn from these and move on. If we continue to work hard and to improve as we did from Trojans to Old Albanians, i am confident that we will get the outcomes that we want. However we need to take confidence from what we executed well and continue to be patient with our processes. There were some fairly easily fixable errors made. 

So we look forward to another improved performance against Hove away in a week's time.