Henley Hawks v Bournemouth RFC - Saturday, September 21st, kick-off 3pm
By Nick Pitson
Henley Hawks return to Dry Leas on Saturday to take on Bournemouth RFC in their latest National 2 (South) fixture, kick off is 3pm.
Everyone knows that it is early days, but it has been a near perfect start for the Hawks, who now top the early league table having won both of their opening fixtures, gaining a bonus point each time. Both attack and defence seem to be in good order with nearly a hundred points scored and just the one try conceded (against Sutton and Epsom).
Last week, it was a thoroughly clinical and professional performance against Old Redcliffians. The Bristol side are not an easy side to beat, especially at home, so the Hawks coaching staff will be delighted in scoring eight tries and at the 50-0 scoreline.
The other pleasing aspect is that both forwards and backs are featuring on the scoreboard, showing that the team are beginning to gel to good effect with new signings, Centre Alex Burrage, scrum half Ewan Fenley and prop Charlie Hughes really adding to the teams quality. Last years regulars Tom Hall, Alex Bradley, Dave Hyde, Liam O’Neill and George Wood are also showing good early season form.
As far as the league is concerned, two other teams, Tonbridge Juddian and Taunton Titans also have maximum points so far, both of them familiar opponents for the Hawks. This is a very tough league and every team will bring their own challenges with no fixture an easy one.
Head coach Luke Allen has made just three changes to the starting fifteen. Prop, George Primett and wing forward Scott White are both given game time this week with Brad Cook and Tom Hall reverting to the cover of the replacements bench. Xav Andre is rested this week as a precautionary measure and he is replaced in the centre by George Griffiths.
Big thanks as always to G.D Evans Interiors for sponsoring tomorrow’s game.
15 Liam O’Neill, 14 Jack Robinson, 13 George Griffiths , 12 Alex Burrage, 11 George Wood, 10 Ben Bolster, 9 Ewan Fenley
1 George Primett , 2 Tom Emery, 3 Charlie Hughes, 4 Jake Albon, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Scott White, 7 Sam Lunnon, 8 Alex Bradley
Reps: Brad Cook , Elliot Deacon , Tom Hall, Elliot McPhun, , Angus Hinton,
This weeks’ challenge comes in the form of Bournemouth RFC. The men from Dorset were promoted at the end of last season having been crowned champions of the South West Premier League which they won by a massive 27 points from second placed Barnstaple.
They had targeted promotion for a couple of years but so far this season, they have had a difficult start to life in National 2 (South). The fixture computer wasn’t kind to them and so far they have suffered heavy defeats at Taunton (49-12) and at home to Worthing (37-24). However, they will be keen to open their account and make their mark against the Hawks so it promises to be an entertaining game. The Hawks will need to be at their best to build on the momentum achieved at the start of the season so far.
There is a double header for the Hawks on Saturday, as the Henley Bulls (2nd XV) also take on Bournemouth at Dry Leas. Kick off for this one is also 3pm.
Coach Tommy Haynes has selected another strong side, which includes Hawks new signing Will Bordill returning after picking up an injury in the inter club pre-season game.
Rory Mason, Andrew Stobbs (C), Henry Penrose, Hugh Evans, Henry Day, Will Bordill, Jake Lovatt, Liam Goodison, Ben Venner, Charlie Wicks,
Reuben Norville, Samir Kharbouch, Murray Bellis, Loike Bazzi, Conan Osborne
Reps: George Probyn, Taine Wagstaff, Harry Jackson, Connor Morrison , Archie Van Dijk ,
Also, the Henley 3rd XV (Vikings) will hope to field a side this week to take on Marlow 2nd XV. Kick off at Marlow RFC is 3pm.
The Henley Hawks Vultures and the Henley Hawks Women have no game this week.
The third annual Henley Beer Festival is also being held at Dry Leas on Saturday. Over 20 beers and ciders from Oxfordshire and Dorset will be available and music will be provided by Adam Isaac from ‘The Voice’.
Also starting this weekend is the Rugby World Cup and a number of the games will be shown on the big screen in the clubhouse.