Barnes vs Henley Hawks – Saturday, November 25th, kick-off 2pm

By Alistair Beynon

Henley Hawks travel to South West London tomorrow for their latest National 2 East fixture against another tough opponent in the form of Barnes RFC, kick-off at their Barn Elms Ground is 2pm.

Following last weekend’s pulsating 18-18 draw with league leaders Dorking, Henley will undoubtedly go into their latest contest knowing that at their best, they are certainly a match for any side in the division. With Barnes losing away to Bury St. Edmunds, the gap between the top 5 teams narrowed and has made the promotion contest much more interesting. For the Hawks, discipline will be a key factor, as yet again they put themselves under significant pressure due to the penalty count against them. This will certainly be something that Director of Rugby, Luke Allen will have addressed at training this week.

Last season, the honours were shared between the two sides with Henley coming out on top 29-12 at Dry Leas in September, before the Londoners gained their revenge in January this year with a 31-21 triumph. However, like Dorking last week, Barnes have performed very well this season with eight wins and two losses to their name and currently sit in second place in National 2 East. Their home form in particular has been excellent, so the Hawks will know full well the task that lies ahead of them.

In terms of team selection, Allen makes several changes to the side that drew with Dorking. In the pack sees Dave Manning return to the starting lineup at loosehead prop and Zack Taylor makes his first start of the season at number eight. In the backs, Adam Hakimian returns to inside centre in an otherwise unchanged backline. On the bench sees new signing, Alex Hayton come in for his first Hawks appearance. The big second row forward joins from the RAF and will bring significant height and power to the Hawks pack.

The provisional side for Saturday’s game at Barnes is as follows;

1. Dave Manning, 2. Tom Emery, 3. Rory Mason, 4. Marcus Lowe, 5. Sam Lunnon, 6. Will Benning, 7. Tom Vooght ©, 8. Zack Taylor, 9. Leo Webb, 10. Max Titchener, 11. Lailand Gordon, 12. Adam Hakimian, 13. Ryan Crowley, 14. George Wood, 15. Toby Evans

Replacements: 16. Istok Totic, 17. Kadeem Collins, 18. Alex Hayton, 19. Jordan Oatley, 20. Will Crow

Elsewhere this Saturday sees Henley 2’s take on Oxford University Greyhounds in a friendly at Dry Leas, kick-off 2.30pm. The Vikings travel to Reading 2’s for the postponed fixture from November 4th, kick-off is 2pm.

On Sunday, Henley Hawks Women, fresh from their fantastic triumph over Bath Ladies travel to in-form Richmond for their latest Championship South fixture. Kick-off is 2.30pm.