Albon back for Worthing clash

Worthing Raiders  vs  Henley Hawks - Saturday, February 9th, kick-off 2pm

By Nick Pitson

After an enforced break because of the bad weather, Henley Hawks travel to Sussex tomorrow to take on old rivals, Worthing Raiders in their latest National 2 (South) fixture. Kick off at Worthing’s Roundstone Lane Ground in Angmering is 2.00pm.

It remains to be seen if last weeks postponed game against high flying Taunton brings benefits to the Hawks. It will have given the squad another needed break after some hard fought victories in testing conditions recently. However, they would have liked to have played and kept up some momentum as the two other teams challenging for the runners up spot, Canterbury and Tonbridge Juddians both played their matches and won.

Canterbury had a resounding win against Redruth and are now second, six points clear of Tonbridge and Taunton and eight points ahead of the Hawks who have slipped now into fifth place. However, the Hawks and Taunton have a game in hand.

Despite Worthing losing surprisingly to London Irish Wild Geese last week, the Hawks will not find it easy on the south coast. As well as a few victories in the last few seasons, there also have been a number of heavy defeats but the games at Worthing always seem to be high scoring affairs. Last season the Raiders won, 55-41 and the year before the Hawks triumphed 47-24. Earlier this season, Henley came out on top at Dry Leas by 32-21. Currently, Worthing lie in 10th place with 45 points having won eight of their twenty one fixtures to date.

Head coach, Luke Allen has made a few changes to the starting fifteen from the team that defeated Dings Crusaders two weeks ago. Ex-skipper, Jake Albon comes back into the second row after injury, Greg Goodfellow, on loan from Chinnor, makes his first start at scrum half with Leo Webb switching to full-back. Elsewhere, Ben Bolster switches to outside half in place of the injured Roddy Giles. The rest of the side is unchanged but there are two changes on the bench. Liam O’Neill replaces his brother, Ryan, while Will Janes also takes his place as a replacement following some impressive performances for the Bulls.

The full Hawks line-up for trip to Dings Crusaders is as follows:

1 Brad Cook, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Dave Manning, 4 Jake Albon, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Sam Lunnon (c), 7 Tom Hall, 8 Alex Bradley, 9 Greg Goodfellow, 10 Ben Bolster, 11 George Griffiths, 12 Dan Barnes, 13 Xav Andre, 14 George Wood, 15 Leo Webb

Replacements: George Primett, Andrew Stobbs, Will Janes, Liam O’Neill, Scott White

The Henley Bulls (2ndXV) also travel to Worthing on Saturday and play Worthing 2nd, kick off at 1.45pm.

Elsewhere, the Henley Vikings (3rdXV)  travel to play Bracknell 2nd XV, kick off 2pm.

The Henley Vultures (Vets XV) game against London Irish has been postponed.

On Sunday the Henley Hawks Women have a very important league encounter against local rivals Reading Abbey Nuns in their final game of the season. The game is being played at Dry Leas and kick off at 12.30pm.