11:00am Tuesday 22nd October 2013
A BRACE of tries from full back Liam O’Neill helped Henley Hawks to a hard-earned 18-10 National 1 victory over Richmond at Dry Leas.
Matches between these two clubs have always been highly competitive and this game was no exception.
Hawks showed that in their driving mauls they could put Richmond on the back foot.
And when they secured the ball moving forward, they exploited the blindside of a maul for O’Neill to catch a speculative pass and score their first try try wide out. James Comben added the conversion.
Richmond replied within nine minutes in a similar fashion, with winger Callum Wilson dashing in after a forward drive. Tom Platt could not add the two extra points and the Hawks led 7-5.
Strong Henley defence, in which hooker Ant Brennan had a high tackle-count, held Richmond at bay before half-time, while Comben missed a long-range penalty.
The second half was dominated by the home side.
Scrum half Luke Carter kept the Richmond back row fully occupied by probing away, while the Hawks forwards also had the better of the loose. Although they lost No 7 Liam Dwyer to injury after 13 minutes, Henley were always ready to launch handling and running attacks from anywhere.
Two penalties from Comben extended the lead to 13-5 before they scored the match-clinching try 15 minutes from time.
Good play from flanker Tommy Haynes, prop Alex Penny and lock Josh McNally put the latter in the clear and full back O’Neill left a trail of Richmond players in his slipstream before touching down close to the corner for an unconverted score.
Richmond had the last word when Wilson scored his second try, but it was too little, too late.
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