Rampant Hawks set down marker

HENLEY HAWKS  63-7 WORTHING RAIDERS   

By Nick Pitson

Henley Hawks put last weeks defeat at Taunton behind them and scored nine tries in a scintillating performance to beat Worthing at Dry Leas on Saturday in their latest National 2(South) fixture.

In near perfect conditions, the speed and skill of the Hawks was too much for a young Worthing side who never gave up, but were ultimately outclassed and had very few answers to the quality of the Hawks play.

This was the Hawks at their best, particularly in the first half,  playing at pace and spreading the ball wide at every opportunity. All of the Hawks tries were scored by backs including a hat trick each for wings Reuben Norville and Jack Robinson, while Ben Bolster had an excellent day with the boot, converting all of the nine tries.

Worthing looked shell-shocked as the Hawks scored twice in the first six minutes, both from Jack Robinson as the home side showed their intent from the start.  Samir Kharbouch looked assured in the centre all afternoon and he set up Robinson for an easy run in to open the scoring. Shortly afterwards, Robinson collected a loose Worthing kick in his own half and used his speed to evade a number of defenders and run in from some 70m.

The Hawks handling was the best seen for some time at Dry Leas and the forwards totally dominated the open play. Tom Hall, Dave Hyde and Jake Albon led the Henley charges and the Hawks were creating scoring chances at will. Full back Liam O’Neill almost set up Dave Hyde for a try but the pass went astray. A five metre scrum set up another opportunity but after drives from Tom Emery, Dave Hyde and Jake Albon, the Hawks lost possession at the crucial moment.

Worthing’s first real foray into the Hawks half came after twenty five minutes and despite some good handling, their attack was snuffed out by the Hawks defence.

It was then that wing Reuban Norville stamped his mark on the game and scored his first try from half way. A slight gap and with a great turn of speed he outpaced the Worthing defence to run in under the posts.

Further Henley pressure resulted in a scrum close to the Worthing line and where scrum half Ewan Fenley, who had another good afternoon, crashed over for the bonus point try.

Not content with just a bonus point, the Hawks continued to play some breathtaking rugby with wing Reuben Norville’s pace a constant threat and he completed his hat trick just before the break. Again, a good line break from Kharbouch put Norville into space and he needed no further invitation, cut inside and easily broke through to score.

A good break from Liam O’Neill and some good handling from Ewan Fenley set up Norville for his third try to give the Hawks a 42-0 lead at the break.

The Hawks scored their seventh try within a minute of the restart when Kharbouch again broke a tackle to allow Jack Robinson to complete his hat trick.

Worthing, who fielded a number of promising youngsters, to their credit never up and were rewarded for their efforts with a try for Jonathan Dawe which Matt McLean converted.

Henley replied immediately from the restart with another open attack when Sam Lunnon put Alex Bradley clear. He was caught just short of the line but the ball was quickly recycled and Ewan Fenley collected the pass to cross for his second try

Inevitably with changes on both sides, and with the game won, the intensity of the Hawks game dropped and the contest became quite scrappy towards the end. Worthing threatened a couple of times but the intention of the Hawks was still to move the ball quickly at every opportunity. After a series of Henley attacks, the pressure eventually told and Alex Burrage found the space to complete the scoring for home side with an easy try to complete the comprehensive victory.

Although the Worthing side weren’t the strongest that they have sent to Dry Leas, the Hawks were excellent and this performance will put them in good heart for the visit of Redruth next week.

Henley Hawks

Liam O’Neill, Jack Robinson, Alex Burrage, Samir Kharbouch, Reuben Norville, Ben Bolster, Ewan Fenley, Brad Cook, Tom Emery, Charlie Hughes, Dave Hyde, Jake Albon, Tom Hall, Sam Lunnon (c), Alex Bradley, 

Reps

George Primett (for Cook) 65mins

Scott White (for Bradley) 49 mins

Will Bordill (for Hall) 46 mins

Rory Mason (for Hughes) 57 mins

Charlie Wicks (for Bolster) 70mins

Match photos are courtesy of Steve Karpa:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_karpa/albums/72157711212394242