Old Redcliffians vs Henley Hawks - Saturday, September 14th kick-off 3pm
By Nick Pitson
Following last weeks resounding opening league victory, Henley Hawks make the trip down the M4 on Saturday to take on Bristol outfit, Old Redcliffians, in their next National League 2 (South) fixture. Kick off at the Old Reds Ground in Brislington, Bristol is 3pm.
The Hawks will buoyed by their opening result against Sutton and Epsom but will also know that Saturday will provide a much sterner test against a side that are establishing themselves as a solid National League side.
Hawks coach Luke Allen will be pleased with the attitude of the squad and the fact that they played with pace, with powerful, direct rugby, backed up with superb support play as They always looked to spread the ball wide.
The forwards looked good and there were impressive displays from Dave Hyde, Alex Bradley and Tom Hall who started as they left off last season. Marcus Lowe also impressed in the first twenty minutes until his game was cut short through injury and the Hawks will be hoping that he will quickly return to the fold.
The backs looked sharp and threatening and will just want to minimise the unforced errors that crept into their game in the second half. However, this should improve as the season progresses and the players become more comfortable with the style of play. Another major positive was debutant Ewan Fenley who looked assured and controlling at scrum half and who capped a fine debut performance with a try in the closing minutes.
Head coach, Luke Allen has made just one enforced change to the starting fifteen for the Old Reds game. Sam Lunnon comes in for Marcus Lowe who went off injured last week. Lunnon also takes over the captaincy of the side.
There are some changes to the replacements. With no Bulls fixture, there is an opportunity for some of the squad players and so prop Zac Clarke, hooker Taine Wagstaff, second row Angus Hinton and scrum half Elliot McPhun join George Primett, Scott White and George Griffiths on the bench to provide cover.
15 Liam O’Neill, 14 Jack Robinson, 13 Xav Andre, 12 Alex Burrage, 11 George Wood, 10 Ben Bolster, 9 Ewan Fenley
1 Brad Cook, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Charlie Hughes, 4 Jake Albon, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Tom Hall, 7 Sam Lunnon, 8 Alex Bradley
Reps: George Primett, Zac Clarke, Scott White, Elliot McPhun, George Griffiths, Angus Hinton, Taine Wagstaff
Old Redcliffians are a tough and combative side and not an easy team to beat. During the last campaign, they improved as the season went on, finishing twelfth and winning ten of their thirty fixtures and they will be looking to consolidate on last season’s finish.
Last season, on an extremely hot September afternoon in Bristol, the Hawks got the better of a hard fought game by 31-15. In the return fixture at Dry Leas, the Hawks again came out on top, winning 42-31 in an open, entertaining game.
Last week, the Reds led at Worthing before finally going down 27-20.
For supporters travelling to Bristol, the address of the ground is Old Redcliffians RFC, Scotland Lane, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 5LU.
Henley Bulls have no game this week but Henley Vikings (3rd XV) have an Oxfordshire Derby as they travel to take on Wheatley 2nd XV, kick off is also 3pm.take on Redingensians Rams 3rd XV at Dry Leas, kick off 3pm.
On Sunday, the Henley Hawks Women travel to Hampshire for a league match, taking on Trojans RFC, kick off there is scheduled for 2.45pm