Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Henley Hawks

Worthing Raiders v Henley Hawks
18th January 2020
Kick-off 2pm

After away trips to Somerset and Cornwall, Raiders return to Roundstone Lane and welcome our old friends and longest standing league opponents Henley Hawks for the first fixture of the New Year. This will be their 11th visit to ‘The Lane’ for a National League fixture. Hawks are flying high in the league presently in 2nd spot a mere point behind leaders Tonbridge Juddians.

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.

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 58pts in 8 appearances. Tom Emery (hooker) started in 29 matches with back-5 forwards Sam Lunnon, David Hyde and Alex Bradley involved in 28.

Raiders v Hawks…
The encounters have provided scintillating matches with often, 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. Hawks have now edged into a 12-9 lead in the series.

A resume of the results and finishing positions in the league

2008/09: W6-H10             H3-W17            H 9th W 12th

2009/10: W22-H15            H10-W8          H 9th W 6th

2010/11:  W30-H8              H34-W32       H 6th W 8th

2011/12: W35-H21              H9-W10          H 5th W 3rd

2012/13: W49-H5              H55-W27        H 1st W 2nd

2013/14: W27-H32            H21-W16        H 14th W15th (National 1)

2014/15: W30-H7              H22-W28       H 1st promoted W 6th

2016/17: W24-H47            H30-W22      H 9th W12th

2017/18: W55-H41            H43-W28      H 9th W 7th  

2018/19: W19-H42           H31-W22      H 4th W 9th

2019/20: H63-W7

Hawks: O’Neill L, Robinson Kharbouch, Burrage, Norville, Bolster, Fenley, Cook, Emery, Hughes, Albon, Hyde, Lunnon, Hall, Bradley.5th October 2019….Henley Hawks 63 Worthing Raiders 7
Raiders travelled the relatively short distance up the road to Henley in the knowledge that the previous week ‘Hawks’ had lost in Taunton (25-17), so our efforts against the strong Somerset side, losing 42-46 was not totally out of kilter. After 6 minutes play Raiders trailed 14-0, with 2 scintillating converted tries from winger Jack Robinson, it looked clear that a backlash from Titans’ was on the cards. Hawks ran in 6 tries in the first half in a breath-taking display of attacking rugby. There was no way back from 42-0. Robinson crossed for his hat-trick early in the second half, but despite Jon Dawe scoring a couple of minutes later, there was only ever going to be one result.

Bench: Primett, Mason, White, Bordill, Wicks.
Scorers: T: Robinson x3, Norville x3, Fenley x2, Burrage. C: Bolster x9.

Raiders: Anscombe, Forrest H, Forrest J, Gwyther, Spencer, McLean, Boyland, Gatford, Gibson, Litterick, Barlow, Lee, Grief, Holmes, Richards.
Bench: Luke Cook, Maguire, Whittall, Dawe.
Scorers: T: Dawe: C: McLean.

Hawks this season… P18 W15 D1 L2….2nd ….75 points Raiders 9th…….48 points
Hawks have an impressive record so far with the result mentioned above at Taunton and an unexpected reversal on home soil against Clifton (17-20) the two defeats. The draw was against Redruth (20-20) at Dry Leas. Probably the most pleasing of the wins would be against TJs with a resounding 15-27 at the Slade. They will also be very pleased with the win at Esher (13-34). They are unbeaten since 9th November, (8 wins on the bounce), although they will look back at the close shaves against Bury St Edmunds (21-18) and Leicester Lions (10-14) with relief! All the fixtures are potential banana skins but the visit to Redruth on 25th January and the visit from TJs on 1st February could go some way towards deciding outcomes…a long way to go though!

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, he played in the home leg. Captain Sam Lunnon has featured in every match and has notched-up 12 tries. Tom Emery (hooker) returned last week after serving a three-match suspension. Experienced Combined Services loose-head, Brad Cook, has not played since 14th December.
In the backs: Once again most of the names will be familiar, either from past seasons or from the fixture earlier in the season at Dry Leas.
Ewan Fenley (scrum-half) who has moved to Ealing Academy (Brunel University) after a spell in the Gloucester Academy, Hartpury & Cinderford, has started every fixture and is also the league’s leading try scorer with 13 (He also took over kicking responsibilities last Saturday, notching-up 4 conversions.).
Reuben Norville (wing) who made his home debut against Raiders has also been rattling in the tries his tally is now 8. He has also joined Ealing Academy/Brunel and is known to us through his time at RAMS & Cinderford.
Ben Bolster, a regular at Dings for several seasons, has started 15 of the league matches this season and is leading points scorer on 110.

It hardly needs to be said that this fixture is a toughie, but over the years there have been some unexpected outcomes and, on many occasions, Raiders have lifted their game and surprised ‘The Hawks’ (55-41 on 14/4/2018 come to mind!!!).

Please try and get along to add your touchline support for the boys. Whatever the outcome there will certainly be exciting and skilful rugby on show.

……..C’Mon Raiders!!!!


Name, Age                *played v Raiders      5th Oct 2019 Apps 2019/20 TotN2 Apps Join Points Honours Position Previous Club/s & Appearances                  *played v Raiders
Hawks TEAM 11/1/2020 Hawks 33 Titans 27
George Wood (24) 13/1R 39 2018 3T   Full Back Amersham & Chiltern
George Griffiths (20) 6/3R 28 2018 1T   Wing: Southend Saxons, Seevic
Xavier Andre (34) 10/2R 179 2011 2T   Centre: Otley 76, Bath, Oxford Quins
Samir Kharbouch* (26) 7/5R 14 2014 3T   Centre: RAMS* 36, Esher
Reuben Norville* (23) 14/1R 15 2019 8T Scot U20 Wing: RAMS*4, Cinderford*74, Ealing Academy, Brunel University
Ben Bolster* (27) 15 23 2019 1T/40C /5P   Fly Half: Dings Crusaders*33
Ewan Fenley* (19) 18 18 2019 13T/4C   Scrum Half: Old Patesians, Hartpury, Cinderford 12, Glos Academy, Ealing Academy, Brunel University.
George Primett* (26) 6/10R 81 2016 Oxon LH Prop: Oxford Harlequins, Plymouth University, Lormont (Fr)
Tom Emery* (28) 15 131 2015 7T Eng C U20 Oxon Hooker: UWIC, Lydney*19, Exmouth 30
Charlie Hughes* (29) 15/2R 17 2019 5T   TH Prop: Old Albanian*189.
Jake Albon*(c) (27) 15/1R 98 2015 1T   Lock: Loughborough Students* 68
Dave Hyde* (27) 14/2R 101 2016 3T   Oxon Lock: Witney
Marcus Lowe (23) 12/2R 80 2016 2T   BS Wing Forward: Ealing Academy
Sam Lunnon* (c) (27) 16/2R 46 2018 12T   OS Wing Forward: Old Albanian *96
Alex Bradley* (26) 15 43 2018 2T Eng U16 Nov8: Ealing 36, Chinnor*37
Rory Mason* (24) 4/10R 19 2018   TH Prop: Chinnor 23.
Zach Clarke (23) 0/2R 15 2018 RAF LH Prop: Nuneaton
Will Bordill* (26) 10/4R 14 2019 Scotland Clubs & U20 Back Row: Sale, Preston G 22, Macclesfield 7, Stirling 6, Glasgow 7, Chinnor* 44.
Jimmy Wright 0/1R 1 2020   Centre: Henley Bulls
Jack Robinson* (32) 15/1R 52 2017 10T   Wing: Old Patesians, Oxford Harlequins
Played Recently Last Played  
Andy Stobbs (34) 1/1R 10 2018 4th Jan RAF Hooker: Chinnor 3
Elliott Deacon (25) 1/6R 13 2018 4th Jan Prop: Canterbury 8.
Scott White* (22) 2/12R 79 2016 1T 4th Jan Back Row: Henley College, Wasps U18, RAMS
Elliott McPhun (18) 0/4R 4 2019 1T Eng Count U18 4th Jan Scrum Half: Oaklands College, Barnet
Angus Hinton (20) 2/3R 5 2019 Scot U19       21st Dec Lock: Bath University
Alex Burrage* (21) 13/1R 14 2019 1T/6C Eng Count U18 14th Dec Centre: Chester 19, Sale Sharks Academy, Bath University
Brad Cook* (28) 12/3R 79 2016 2T/2C Comb Services 14th Dec LH Prop: Bury St Edmunds 18, RAF
Liam O’Neill* (26) 10/1R 151 2012 3T/1C 23rd Nov Full Back: London Welsh, Nottingham
Tom Hall* (29) 4/1R 116 2014 1T Eng Stu Oxon October OS Wing Forward: Cardiff Met