Peter Gavin previews Henley Hawks v Worthing Raiders


Henley Hawks v Worthing Raiders

5th October 2019 kick-off 3pm

Raiders take to road this week with a relatively short trip to our friends and rivals Henley Hawks. ‘The Hawks’ are our longest standing National League opponents and this will be our 11th visit to their extensive facility at Dry Leas.

 Background stuff

The club was founded in 1930 as Old Henleiensians RFC, for the old boys of Henley Grammar School.

In 1963 the name was changed to Henley RFC….the ‘Hawks’ bit was added later!

At the beginning of the league system in 1987, the club were placed in South West 2, but the arrival of (Sir) Clive Woodward as coach in 1990 brought about an upward spiral.

By 2000, with at least four promotions, the club were mid-table in level 2. This put them amongst the top 20 or so clubs in the country. Hawks moved between levels 2 and 3 for a few years before landing in level 4 in 2008, which coincided with Raiders promotion to that level. Hawks (and Raiders) were promoted to level 3 after season 2012-13, but both clubs only lasted one season at that level. Hawks bounced straight back to level 3 but were once again relegated.

Henley RFC is based at Dry Leas in Henley-on-Thames overlooking the river where the famous Regatta takes place. Their excellent pitch, level playing surface and the floodlit facility is used extensively. An all-weather training pitch was installed in 2002.

Their clubhouse has recently been subject to substantial renovation.

They are a community club running 3 or 4 senior sides, with junior and mini rugby taking over on Sundays. They have a Ladies team in National Championship South and are looking to expand to a 2nd team.

Raiders v Hawks…

The encounters have provided scintillating matches with more often than not, only a score deciding the outcome. Even on occasions when the score line suggests a slightly more one-sided affair, there has always been plenty for the spectators to savour.

A resume of the results and finishing positions in the league:

2008/9:    W 6 – H 10 H 3 – W 17 H 9th  W 12th
2009/10:  W 22 – H 15 H 10 – W 8 H 9th  W 6th
2010/11:  W 30 – H 8 H 34 – W 32 H 6th  W 8th
2011/12:   W 35 – H 21 H 9 – W 10 H 5th  W 3rd
2012/13:   W 49 – H 5 H 55 – W 27 H 1st  W 2nd
2013/14:   W 27 – H 32 H 21 – W 16 H 14th  W 15th  (National 1)
2014/15:   W 30 – H 7 H 22 – W 28 H 1st promoted W 6th
2016/17:   W 24 – H 47 H 30 – W 22 H 9th  W12th
2017/18:   W 55 – H 41 H 43 – W 28 H 9th  W 7th
2018/19    W 19 – H 42 H 31 – W 22 H 4th  W 9th

Following their win at ‘The Lane’ last February Hawks have now edged into a 11-9 lead in the series.

20th October 2018….Henley Hawks 31 Worthing Raiders 22

Despite Raiders taking the lead in the 9th minute, following a try from Jon Dawe, the home side held the upper hand for much of this match. Their forwards dominated proceedings, starving the visitors of possession thereby limiting opportunities for Raiders lively threequarters. Raiders led at HT 5-8, but 3 tries in the 15-minute period shortly after the break (including a penalty try) more or less saw the game in the bag for the home team. Raiders rallied towards the end with another try for Jon Dawe in the final play some consolation.

Hawks: Pietersen, Wood, O’Neill L, Andre, Portland, Giles, Webb, Cook, Emery, Manning, Albon, Hyde, Lunnon, Lowe, Bradley.

Bench: Stobbs, Primett, Neal, Hall, McDougall.

Scorers: T: Bradley x2, Andre, Webb, Penalty: C: Giles x2.

Raiders: McLean, Maslen, Sims, Forrest J, Forrest H, Gwyther, Boyland, Birch, Grief, Sassone, Lake, Rees, Harris, Dawe, Price.

Bench: Luke, Gatford, Lee, Holt, Winsor.

Scorers: T: Dawe x2, McLean: C: McLean x2 :P: McLean.

9th February 2019 Worthing Raiders 19 Henley Hawks 42

Henley were neatly positioned in 5th spot (74 points), jostling with Titans & TJs to try to overtake Canterbury to secure the play-off spot. Hawks probably needed 5 points from each of their remaining (10) fixtures to have any chance of fulfilling that ambition. (Even at this stage realists had awarded top spot to RAMS!) Raiders in 10th position with 45 points knew the task ahead! In the event Hawks got off to a flyer with a couple of converted tries in the first six minutes. Raiders did their best to withstand the onslaught with oranges at 7-21. Three more converted tries in the 3rd quarter took the score to 7-42 and the faithful were fearful indeed, but the home side suddenly took the game to their opponents with tries coming in the final 10 minutes, a 4 try bonus point was denied!

Raiders: Forrest H, Barnes, Barlow H, Miller, Forrest J, McLean, Holt, Gatford, Birch, Sassone, Hammond, Lee, Lake, Whittall, Cuffe.

Bench: Gibson, Litterick, Harris, Boyland, Sims.

Scorers: T: McLean, Forrest H, Hammond; C: McLean x2.

Hawks: Webb, Wood, Andre, Barnes, Griffiths, Bolster, Goodfellow, Cook, Emery, Manning, Albon, Hyde, Lunnon, Hall, Bradley.

Bench: Stobbs, Primett, White, Janes, O’NeillL.

Scorers: T: Griffiths x3, Hall, Emery, Manning: C: Bolster x6.

Hawks last season…4th …. W24 / L6…120 points

A great effort to finish with this record which in some seasons may have achieved the play-off spot. Canterbury grabbed that position with 121 points, TJs also finished on 120 points but with 25 wins. White knuckle stuff!

In fairness, when the lost six statistic is examined, Hawks lost, home and away, to RAMS, Canterbury and TJs.

Try scoring was spread evenly between forwards and backs with Sam Lunnon and Dan Barnes getting 13 a-piece. Kicking duties were shared, but the arrival of Ben Bolster from Dings may change things in the future as his sure boot notched 58 points in 8 appearances. Tom Emery (hooker) started in 29 matches with back-5 forwards Sam Lunnon, David Hyde and Alex Bradley involved in 28.

 Hawks this season… P4 W3…..3rd 15 points

Hawks set off at pace with 5 pointers against Sutton (46-5), Old Reds (0-52) & Bournemouth (66-24), but last week the visit to Taunton (25-17) did not go to plan with a lacklustre display in the first half. Trailing 15-0 at HT, Hawks recovered to lead 15-17 with 10 minutes to go but a converted try and a penalty eventually provided a 5 pointer for Titans, zero for Hawks.


As usual a list of the squad who turned out against Titans is provided along with details on some of the other players who have played recently.

In the forwards: a glance down the list will show that most of the forwards are well known to us although tight head Charlie Hughes was previously with Old Albanian. Angus Hinton made his first start in the boiler house, he is at Bath University and achieved Scotland caps whilst at Merchiston Castle. Will Bordill (back row) ex Chinnor is another newcomer this season. He was concussed in pre-season but came off the bench v Taunton.

In the backs: Once again most of the names will be familiar to us although centre Alex Burrage is another newcomer from Bath University. Ewan Fenley (scrumhalf) has moved to Ealing Academy (Brunel University) after a spell in the Gloucester Academy, Hartpury & Cinderford. Reuben Norville (wing) who scored last week coming off the bench has also joined Ealing Academy and is known to us through RAMS & Cinderford. Ben Bolster, a regular at Dings for several seasons joined in time for the Raiders match last season and forms the new half-back combination with Fenley.

The fixtures against Henley Hawks always provides plenty of entertainment with usually a few spectacular tries to savour. Please endeavour to make the trip up the road to support the boys. Visits to Dry Leas are often a tough ask so plenty of touch line encouragement will be much appreciated by the boys.

……..C’Mon Raiders!!!!

Name, Age               *played v Raiders Apps 2019/20 Tot N2 Apps Join Points Honours Position : Previous Club/s & Appearances        *played v Raiders
28th September 2019    Titans 25 -17 Hawks
Liam O’Neill* (25) 4 140 2012 3T/1C   Full Back: London Welsh, Nottingham
Jack Robinson* (32) 4 40 2017 4T   Wing: Old Patesians, Oxford Harlequins
Alex Burrage (19) 3 3 2019 3C Eng Co U18 Centre: Chester 19, Sale Sharks Academy, Bath University
Xavier Andre* (34) 3 170 2011 1T   Centre: Otley76, Oxford Harlequins
George Wood*(24) 4 29 2018 2T   Wing: Amersham & Chiltern
Ben Bolster* (27) 4 12 2019 14C   Fly Half: Dings Crusaders*33
Ewan Fenley (19) 4 4 2019 2T   Scrum Half: Old Patesians, Hartpury, Cinderford 12, Glos Academy, Ealing Academy, Brunel University.
Brad Cook* (28) 3/1R 68 2016 2T Comb Services LH Prop: Bury St Edmunds 18, RAF
Tom Emery* (28) 4 120 2015 Eng Co U20 Oxon Hooker: UWIC, Lydney*19, Exmouth 30
Charlie Hughes (29) 4 4 2019 1T   TH Prop: Old Albanian*189.
Jake Albon*(c) (26) 4 86 2015   Lock: Loughborough Students* 68
Angus Hinton (20) 1/2R 3 2019 Scot U19 Lock: Bath University
Sam Lunnon* (c) (27) 3/1R 32 2018 5T   BS Wing Forward: Old Albanian *96
Tom Hall* (29) 3/1R 115 2014 1T Eng Stu / Oxon OS Wing Forward: Cardiff Met
Alex Bradley* (26) 4 32 2018 2T Eng U16 No 8: Ealing 36, Chinnor*37
George Primett* (26) 1/3R 69 2016 Oxon Prop: Oxford Harlequins, Plymouth University
Rory Mason (24) 0/1R 6 2018   TH Prop: Chinnor 23.
Scott White* (22) 1/3R 69 2016 1T   Back Row: Henley College, Wasps U18, RAMS
Will Bordill (26) 0/1R 1 2019 Scotland Clubs &U20 Back Row: Sale, Preston G 22, Macclesfield 7, Stirling 6, Glasgow 7, Chinnor* 44.
Reuben Norville (23) 0/1R 1 2019 1T Scot U20 Wing: RAMS*4, Cinderford*74, Ealing Academy, Brunel University.
George Griffiths* (20) 2/1R 22 2018 21st  Sept Wing: Southend Saxons
David Hyde* (27) 3 88 2016 2T 21st  Sept     Oxon Lock: Witney
Marcus Lowe* (23) 1 67 2016 7th Sept BS Wing Forward: Ealing Academy
Elliott Deacon (25) 0/2R 8 2018 21st Sept Prop: Canterbury 8.
Zachary Clarke (23) 0/1R 14 2018 14th Sept LH Prop: Nuneaton
Samir Kharbouch (26) 0/1R 3 2014 14th Sept Back Row: RAMS* 36
Elliott McPhun (18) 0/1R 1 2019 1T 21st Sept        Eng Count U18 Scrum Half/ Fly Half: Oaklands College