Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Henley Hawks


Worthing Raiders v Henley Hawks 

9th February 2019 kick-off 2pm

High flying Henley Hawks are our visitors this Saturday and they will not require to consult Satnav, this will be their 10th visit to Roundstone Lane for a National League fixture. Raiders and their supporters took the well-trodden path to Dry Leas last October, the home side winning an entertaining contest 31-22.

‘The Hawks’ are our longest standing National League opponents, after the October match the series now favours Hawks 10-9.

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 – League positions
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  – both promoted
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 W 12th
2017/18: W 55 – H 41 H 43 – W 28 H 9th W 7th   
2018/19:    H 31 – W 22    

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

Despite Raiders taking the lead in the 9th minute, following a try from John 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 three quarters. Raiders led at oranges 5-8, but 3 tries in a fifteen minute period shortly after half-time (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 John 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.

Hawks last season…9th…W12/D2/L16…73 points

Middling and by their own admission, disappointing to finish 9th for the second season on the bounce. Top points scorer, all from the boot, was George Jackson with 184. Jack Robinson and David Hyde (who featured in every match) both scored 11 tries. Since Raiders’ visit in December of the 16 matches played 11 were lost. The final game of the season was a defeat at Rams (51-0).

Hawks this season… P20 /W15/ L5 (5th 74 points)…  (Raiders 10th 45 points)

Things have turned around this season with Hawks in the group of 4 sides chasing runaway leaders Rams. Realistically, Rams (98 points) are unlikely to be caught, so Hawks are vying with Canterbury (82 points), TJs (76pts) and Titans (76 points) for the play-off spot. Hawks and Titans, both have a game in hand as their fixture last Saturday at Dry Leas was snowed off. It should make for a fascinating finale to the season to see which team can get 2nd spot. Hawks have lost to TJs (14-19) & (23-14) and to Rams (43-13) & (12-19). Their other defeat was to Canterbury (29-32). (They still have Canterbury to visit on 23rd March.)


As usual a list of the squad who turned out in the last fixture (26th Jan) against Dings (Won 10-13) 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 virtually the same pack that took the field against Raiders in October played at Dings. Tom Emery, hooker and Sam Lunnon have both started all 20 matches played, with tight head David Manning and No8 Alex Bradley only missing one.

In the backs: Experienced three-quarter Xavier Andre has teamed up in the centre with Dan Barnes who has returned to the club after spells with Rams and Rosslyn Park. Ben Bolster, a regular at Dings for several seasons has recently joined, as has scrum half Greg Goodfellow (Chinnor/Redruth).

The fixture against Henley Hawks always provides plenty of entertainment with usually a few spectacular tries to savour. In view off their lofty position in the league, it will doubtless be a tough test for our young Raiders side……try to get along to support the boys and to add the important 16th man from the touchline.

……..C’Mon Raiders!!!!

Name, Age       *played V Raiders 20th October 2018 Apps 2018/9 Tot N2S App Join Points Honours Position Previous Club/s & Appearances                          *played v Raiders
26th January 2019                                                Dings 10 – 13 Hawks
Ben Bolster (26) 2 2 2019   Full Back: Dings Crusaders*33
George Wood*(23) 18 18 2018 6T   Wing: Amersham & Chiltern
Xavier Andre* (33) 13 157 2011 5T   Centre: Otley76, Oxford Harlequins
Dan Barnes (23) 10 15 20142018 3T   Centre: Chinnor 16, Rams*44, Rosslyn Park 30.
George Griffiths (19) 9 9 2018 2T   Wing: Southend Saxons
Roddy Giles*(23) 15 15 2018 32C/ 6P Oxon Fly Half: Bedford Academy, Oxford Brookes, Chinnor 3
Leo Webb* (18) 6/1R 7 2018 1T   Scrum Half: Henley Bulls, Henley College
Brad Cook* (27) 13/3R 54 2016 2T Combined Services LH Prop: Bury St Edmunds 18, RAF
Tom Emery* (27) 20 107 2015 7T Eng C U20 Oxon Hooker: UWIC, Lydney*19, Exmouth 30
Dave Manning* (30) 18/1R 131 2012 3T Combined Services Oxon TH Prop: RAF
Sam Lunnon* (c) (26) 20 20 2018 7T   Lock: Old Albanian *96
David Hyde* (26) 18 75 2016 4T Oxon Lock: Witney
Marcus Lowe* (22) 13/3R 58 2016 3T   BS Wing Forward: Ealing Academy
Tom Hall* (28) 9/5R 110 2014 1T Eng Students     Oxon OS Wing Forward: Cardiff Met
Alex Bradley* (25) 17/2R 19 2018 6T Eng U16 No8: Ealing 36, Chinnor*37
George Primett* (26) 2/12R 43 2016 1T Oxon Front Row: Oxford Harlequins, Plymouth University
Andrew Stobbs* (33) 0/4R 4 2018 RAF Front Row/Hooker: Chinnor 3, Aylesbury
Ross Parkins (26) 4/2R 6 2018 1T Army Lock: Chinnor*15
Ryan O’Neill* (27) 3/5R 8 2018 1T   Centre: Hertford*, Broadstreet* 9
Greg Goodfellow (33) 0/2R 2 2019 Cornwall Scrum Half: Mounts Bay 24, Coventry, Redruth*101, Chinnor*87
Zachary Clarke (22) 1/8R 9 2018 19th Jan LH Prop: Nuneaton
Liam O’Neill (25) 8/1R 126 2012 3T3C 12th Jan Centre/Wing: London Welsh, Nottingham
Sam Randle (27) 11 11 2018 4T 12th Jan       GB Stu RAF Wing: Ealing T, Brunel University, Douglas IOM, Westcombe Park
Scott White (22) 3/6R 56 2016 3T 12th Jan Back Row: Henley College, Wasps U18, RAMS
Finn Salterpieterson*18 6/4R 10 2018 9C/1P 15th Dec Full Back: Wasps U18
Ross McDougall* (24) 3/8R 11 2018 2T 8th Dec          RAF Scrum Half: Bracknell, Ealing U23
Jake Albon*(c) (26) 13 73 2015 1T 8th Dec Lock: Loughborough Students* 68