First Team

PREVIEW: Henley Hawks v Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV 6th March

After the bog that was Vallis Way last weekend and the close loss to Rosslyn Park, skipper Jay King takes his team back on the road, travelling to Oxfordshire to face Henley Hawks RFC at Dry Leas.

Speaking after the defeat to Park Jay  said "last week’s defeat to Park hurt. We had prepared well all week, it’s games like that, that players play for. It was close and could have gone either way. We know have to pick ourselves up, and prepare equally for Henley. Dry Leas is a hard place to go, and we will take the challenge seriously. We know what we have to do, it is a case of getting the mindset right."

Henley Hawks are currently sitting in 12th position in N2S, having won 6 and lost 12 of their 18 games played so far. Their form in their previous 6 games has not been great, 5 losses and only one win, although they did take a losing bonus point from their trip to Dings last weekend ( 20-13) , and that is never an easy place to travel to.

Henley Hawks – A brief history

Henley Rugby Club was founded in 1930 as Old Henleiensians (old boys of Henley GS). Always a vibrant and locally respected Rugby Club, Henley’s fortunes began to soar when SIR CLIVE WOODWARD became the 1st XV coach in 1990.

In year 2000 Henley had reached their pinnacle with a midway position in National One (as was) and a top 25 position in National league rugby.

Around the same time Henley took the scalp of then premiership side Bedford in the latter stages of the National Knockout Cup and narrowly lost to Gloucester at Kingsholm in the next round. Right now Henley occupy a respectable top 50 spot, firmly established in National 2 South with an eye to climbing back up the pecking order.

Henley’s ground DRY LEAS is the club’s ‘jewel in the crown’. The ground is barely a stone’s throw from the river and reflects everything that you might expect from the world famous regatta town of Henley–On–Thames. Beautifully appointed Dry Leas boasts one of the finest playing surfaces in the country.

(Picking up on their ground – a great rugby venue, but given the amount of rain we have had – take your wellies !)

Will Fulton is the Hawks top points scorer so far this season with 68 to his name, whilst  wing Will Jones tops the try scoring list with  5 tries and back row and Ex Skipper Matt Payne on 4.

Comparing Ealing and Henley maybe somewhat misleading as we always expect a hard game at Dry Leas as we saw last season. In their 18 games Henley have scored 41 tries to Ealing’s 99 in 20 games, who will score the 100th? Is that tempting fate? 55 of those 99 tries have come on the road. 17 of their tries have been scored by the piano shifters and 23 by the piano players, whilst our shifters have 22 against 74 …..

Henley have amassed 200 points at Dry Leas whilst Ealing have 368 away from Vallis Way

The Hawks  have received  9 yellow cards – with  lock Steve Green topping the list on 2.

Previous games between Ealing Trailfinders & Henley Hawks

07/11/2009  Ealing Trailfinders 36 Henley Hawks 25

28/02/2009 Ealing Trailfinders 27 Henley Hawks 15

08/11/2008 Henley Hawks 10 Ealing Trailfinders 15