Hawks Women lose out in pre-season opener

Henley Hawks Women - 12 - 50 - Sutton and Epsom Ladies 

By Joe Harwood

1 - Ange Mae (On Debut) 

2 - Tina Simpson

3 - Lisa Tavinor 

4 - Samantha Page 

5 - Jennifer Kingman (C)

6 - Emma Bowring 

7 - Caroline Robinson (On Debut)

8 - Cerys Hopkins 

9 - Emma Leeds

10 - Gillian Thomas 

11 - Rachel Humphreys 

12 - Mia McCreesh (On Debut) 

13 - Allie Nelkon (On Debut) 

14 - Shannon Loney 

15 - Emily Bagguley (On Debut)

S and E Try 1 - Henley concede a penalty for holding on, on their 22. An uncontested scrum is called (Due to front row unavailability). S and E's 8 picks and goes, uses the ball to dummy Henley's 12, Mia McCreesh, and scores under the posts. The try is converted.0 - 7. 

Henley Try 1 - S and E try a backs move on Henley's 22, from a scrum. A wayward pass finds the floor. Henley's left winger, Shannon Loney, picks up, side steps the first defender and sprints home. The conversion is missed. 5 - 7. 

S and E Try 2 - An attacking line-out on the Henley 22. The ball is won and moved from left to right. Several offloads out of contact later their 13 gives a 2 v 1 for their left winger to score in the corner. The conversion is missed. 5 - 12. 

Henley Try 2 - A scrum on the S and E 10 metre line, centre field. Emma Leeds passes to Gilly Thomas, Thomas finds McCreesh at 12. She chips over the S and E defender and then side steps two defenders from right to left to score under the posts. Fly Half Thomas, converts. 12 - 12. 

S and E Try 3 - Thomas box kicks from a breakdown on her own 5 metre line. She doesn't find touch. Their 15 picks up on the half way line, fixes/draws two defenders and passes. Their 13 side steps and accelerates through a gap to score in the left corner. Despite the best efforts from 15, Emily Bagguley on debut. The conversion is missed. 12 - 17. 

S and E Try 4 - A knock on from second row Samantha Page allows S and E to retain the ball on the half way line. The ball gets to their right winger who  beats two Henley defenders then side steps a further two more to score. The conversion is made. 12 - 24. 

S and E Try 5 - S and E scrum on the left hand side just inside the Henley half. Their 8 picks and goes. She passes to their 10 who finds their 12. Their 12 makes a line break, draw/fixes a Henley defender and passes. She then side steps the full back to score. The conversion is made 12 - 31. 

S and E Try 6 - S and E scrum on the left hand side in the Henley 22. Their 9 picks and goes to find their 10, who ghosts through a gap to score. The conversion is made. 12 - 38. 

S and E Try 7 - After sustained pressure in the Henley 22. Their 9 finds their 10 from left to right, she finds their 12 who is tackled but offloads in contact to their 13. Coming from out to in, who scores. The conversion is made. 12 - 45. 

S and E Try 8 - Just inside the S and E half. From a scrum they move the ball from right to left. Their left winger passes inside to their 13 who beats two defenders to sprint in. The conversion is missed. 12 - 50. 

From the first 20 minute quarter to the last 20 minute quarter there was improvement and that is all i can ask for. We knew the game would be tough, Sutton and Epsom are a good side. Credit to them they played very well. We also had a bare 15 available with 25 players away or returning from injury. The game was all about performance and not result. 

There were aspects which we as a team were unhappy with and we will address those. But there were also aspects which we'd worked on in pre-season, which we were happy with. Support off an attacking line break for example. We had two line breaks and scored two tries. 

We lost Zoe Franklin in the warm up to a quite serious knee injury. We played 15 of 80 minutes with 14 players against a team who had 26 players, so, they had fresh legs. 

 Ultimately as a new coaching group it was great for us to learn about the players character, their resolve and how they can perform under pressure. 

And the girls deserve a huge well done and credit for the effort they put in from minute 1 to minute 80. They were tested mentally, physically, technically and tactically. And as i say there was improvement. It was good for them also, to get some competitive game time as we head in to our next few weeks of pre-season training.