Old Albanian 21-50 Henley Hawks
Henley produced one of their best away performances of the season to demolish a hard working OA’s by eight tries to three.
Henley’s intent was clear from the start as they relentlessly attacked the home sides lines with some intelligent off loading and power plays. This led to David Hyde hitting a trade mark hard line and powering his was over after only four minutes. Liam ONeill taking over kicking duties converted to give Henley an early upper hand.
It wasn’t long before the visitors were camped back on the host line creating openings and forcing some furious defence. However, the Hawks stood firm and the evergreen, Xavier Andre found a gap and a combination of pace and power saw him score wide out. With a score of 12-0 in the visitors favour after only ten minutes, the signs looked ominous for the hosts. They did have some pressure on the Henley line but a superb turnover from Scott White relieved any threat and Henley were able to play themselves out of trouble.
Next on the score board was Ryan ONeill who had shown some powerful and penetrating running to out pace the defence and cross wide out, his brother Liam converted the try brilliantly from the touchline. Indeed, Scott White was next to score after some clever interplay from forwards and backs allowed the Henley flanker to cap a fine performance going over close to the posts with O’Neill adding the extras. With only a few minutes to half time there was still an opportunity for Liam O’Neill to score wide out and bring to a close a remarkable first half with the Hawks leading 31-0.
Immediately after half time the now dominant Henley eight produced a solid scrummage, and a set piece training move saw Ryan O’Neill crash over close to the posts with his brother once again converting. At 38 nil down it would have been easy for the host to capitulate further, but to their credit they stuck manfully to their task and produced three good scores of their own albeit from Henley’s mistakes.
There was however time for further scores from Leo Webb, who again showed his growing maturity and one more from David Hyde to bring up the half century and a very satisfactory afternoon.
With a week off and time to recuperate before the final game of the season Henley can reflect on perhaps their best away performance of the season.
L Neill , J Robinson, R O Neill, X Andre, G Griffiths, D Barnes, L Webb, B Cook, T Emery, D Manning,D Hyde, J. Albon capt, S White, M Lowe, A Bradley.
Replacements. G Wood, G Primett,I Stock, L Goodison, T Hall
Match photos courtesy of Steve Karpa;