Old Albanian vs Henley Hawks - Saturday, April 13th, kick-off 3pm
Following last Saturday’s 10-try rout of Guernsey Raiders, the Hawks travel to Hertfordshire this weekend in a buoyant mood to take on a rejuvenated Old Albanian at the Woollam’s Playing Fields.
Despite having been relegated from National 1 last season, Old Albanian have found the going tough in their first season back in National 2 South. However, recent results have certainly shown an upturn in fortunes. With new Head Coach, James Buckland instilling a sense of self-belief, they swept aside London Irish Wild Geese with a 61-5 thumping last Saturday. It was a clinical performance from OA’s, with fly-half, Dan Watt the star of the show, scoring four tries and kicking seven of eight conversion attempts.
The Hawks themselves are back to their best, having easily dispatched the Wild Geese 52-0 the weekend before last, and then thrashing Guernsey, 60-28 last Saturday. They will certainly be heading to Hertfordshire with confidence high. The Hawks still sit in fourth place in the National 2 South standings, six points behind Canterbury, who travel to Barnes on Saturday, and level on points with Tonbridge Juddians, who entertain Clifton. If Canterbury win in South West London, then they will have secured the second-place play-off spot. However, if they slip-up, both TJ’s and the Hawks will be doing their upmost to keep the pressure on them going into the final round of games on April 27th.
Back in December, the Hawks entertained OA’s at Dry Leas in appalling conditions. Despite being down 12-10 at Half time, Henley put on a superb display of wet-weather rugby in the second half and came away with a resounding 33-12 victory.
There are a couple of changes to the Hawks team that faced Guernsey last weekend. In the pack, Dave Manning returns to the front row having been on RAF duty against the Navy, and in the back row, Scott White replaces Marcus Lowe who switches to blind-side in place of captain, Sam Lunnon. Jake Albon takes over as captain for the game.
Elsewhere, George Wood comes back into the starting line-up on the wing in place of Jack Robinson, who reverts to the bench. Dan Barnes continues at fly-half after an excellent performance over the Raiders last weekend.
Henley Hawks starting line-up;
15. L. O’Neill, 14. Wood, 13. Andre, 12. R. O’Neill, 11. Griffiths, 10. Barnes, 9. Webb; 1. Stock, 2. Emery, 3. Manning, 4. Albon (c), 5. Hyde, 6. Lowe, 7. White, 8. Bradley
Replacements: 16. Cook, 17. Primett, 18. Hall, 19. Goodison, 20. Robinson
The Bulls also travel to St. Albans on Saturday to take on OA’s 2nds, kick-off 2.30pm.
Elsewhere, on Sunday, April 14th the Hawks Women travel to Stourbridge to take on Trojans in the RFU National Plate trophy, kick-off 1pm.
Supporters, Members, Friends and Family are welcome on the coach to Stourbridge RFC. The coach will leave Dry Leas at 9.00am on Sunday 14th April, and will leave Stourbridge at 4.15pm. Will are also picking up and dropping off at Peartree Services, Oxford (outward approx 9.45am) Those wishing to travel should advise Mary in the office.