First half performance enough to see Hawks home

Henley Hawks 21-17 Redruth

By Nick Pitson

Henley Hawks continued their winning run with a hard fought 21-17 win over a resilient Redruth at Dry Leas. It was not the Hawks best performance but credit must go to Redruth who kept going throughout and defended stoutly. Indeed, if the visitors line out had functioned well, the result may have been different.

Henley Hawks head coach Luke Allen was happy that his side had continued their winning run. “ We’re a little frustrated but happy to win. We knew it would be hard because of the brand of rugby Redruth bring but it was a good game of rugby. We’re pleased with the first half, scoring 21 points but disappointed to have a left a bonus point out there”.

The first half belonged to the Hawks as they took the game to the Cornishmen who seemed to take time getting the journey out of their system. The Hawks had plenty of possession and although they struggled at times to get any continuity and momentum, the speed of their play caused the visitors problems.

Henley started well, quickly making their way into the Redruth 22 but the visitors scored first when Redruth winger Matt Bowden intercepted a Hawks attack and ran the length of the field to score.

The Hawks forwards were in control however with the back row of Tom Hall, Alex Bradley and Liam Goodison all leading from the front with some good drives.

A good break from Dan Barnes put Henley in a good position and Leo Webb was caught just short of the line. The Hawks won a penalty, kicked for the corner and from the line out, Tom Hall crashed over for the Hawks first try which Ben Bolster converted.

Shortly afterwards, good work from Jake Albon and Dave Manning set up an attack from which Alex Bradley ran a great line to cut through and score unopposed under the posts. Bolster’s conversion put the Hawks 14-5 in front.

At this stage, the Hawks were controlling the game but there was a good reply from Redruth who ventured into the Hawks half for the first real attack of the half after some 25 minutes. Redruth full back Tom Notman made good ground from a backs move which put the visiting forwards in good position. After a series of surges for the line, Todd Prisk scored the visitors second try.

The Hawks replied immediately. Full back Liam O’Neill picked up a loose kick in his own half and broke clear. He was well supported by Jake Albon. Good passing from Bolster and Griffiths put Xav Andre clear and he finished well despite some indifferent Redruth tackling. Bolster again converted to give the Hawks a 21-10 lead at the break.

It looked as if Henley might pull away in the second half but Redruth had other ideas and had the better of the second period. The Cornish side spent most of the half in the Hawks territory and actually won the half 7-0 as the Hawks tried to force the game and made a number of mistakes in the process. The only real Henley threat came in the last five minutes.

Redruth had most of the possession as Henley tried to force things. When the Reds threatened, the Hawks defence on the whole stood firm and there was plenty of commitment from both sides.

Eventually Redruth made their way deep into Henley territory after a break from Notman. From a penalty, the visitors elected for a line out and and after a series of drives, Richard Brown crashed over. Aaron Simmonds converted to bring the visitors within four points.

There was some frantic play from both sides and and any lack of concentration from the Hawks could have led the match being given away. However, despite all the Redruth possession, their threat was limited and the Hawks defence held firm.

It was Henley who came close to scoring and extending their lead with their first foray in the Redruth 22 with just five minutes remaining. A well worked loop move involving Leo Webb almost put Liam O’Neill clear but he was stopped just short of the line. Redruth defended excellently and there was no more scoring in the game.

Not the Hawks best performance but a win against good, dogged opposition which will put them in good heart for the rearranged fixture against high flying Taunton Titans on Sunday at Dry Leas, kick off 2pm.

HENLEY

15 Liam O Neill, 14 Jack Robinson, 13 Xav Andre, 12 Dan Barnes, 11 George Griffiths, 10 Ben Bolster, 9 Leo Webb, 1 George Primett, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Dave Manning, 4 Dave Hyde, 5 Jake Albon (c), 6 Liam Goodison, 7 Tom Hall, 8 Alex Bradley

Replacements: 16 Brad Cook (for Primett 67mins), 17 Zac Clarke, 18 Scott White (for Hall 58mins), 19 Will Janes, 20 Ben Venner

HENLEY

Tries:  Hall 16, Bradley 22, Andre 30

Conversions Bolster 16, 22, 30 

REDRUTH

Tries:  Bowden 6, Prisk 26, Brown 60

Conversions: Simmonds 60

Star Man: Tom Hall (Henley)

Referee: Matthew Sharpe

Attendance: 370

Halftime scoreline: Henley  21  Redruth  10

Match photos courtesy of Steve Karpa;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_karpa/albums/72157703422566292