National League 2 South
This match was similar, in certain respects, to that played out at Canterbury a few short weeks ago. The weather was foul for the entire afternoon and for some strange reason Albanians acquitted themselves well in only one of the two available halves.
OAs kicked off out of the murk and within seven minutes were reduced to fourteen men when Chris West got a ten minute rest for a technical offence. During his absence Henley took the lead when scrum half Leo Webb dotted down at the end of a smart forward rush. Roddy Giles converted.
The rest of West’s sentence was spent with Albanians camped in the Henley 22 and when restored to a full complement they evened the score in similar fashion to their hosts, Zaki Chamnaoui the man over the line for Dan Watt to convert.
The visitors warmed to the task for the remainder of the first period and held the advantage in position and possession for most of this time. It was no surprise when they took the lead as Morgan Thompson charged over from the base of a dominant scrum. OAs were not disappointed with the half time score of 7-12.
It has been mooted that Henley had the best of the interval team talks since their attitude and application changed dramatically after the restart led by captain, and ex Albanian, Sam Lunnon. He it was who tore through an OA defence suddenly floundering for Xavier Andre to touch down. Giles conversion gave his side a lead they were not to lose.
Thus riled Albanians attacked the Henley set scrum in midfield and it was a tribute to the home back row that they managed to retain possession rushing backwards. Defence rapidly became very effective attack as the OA defence was ripped asunder once more and George Griffiths ended a move started on half way. Giles missed with the kick but Henley were now in the ascendant.
Chasing another attack scrum half Thompson was injured, seriously enough for the players to be ushered from the field by Mr Davies. Thompson was stretchered from the pitch and all were relieved to hear later that his subsequent visit to the Royal Berkshire hospital had been precautionary.
It was left to full back Sam Randle to embarrass the visiting defence once more for the bonus point try. Giles notched the final points of the encounter.
This week the season starts to unwind with a visit to Bury St Edmunds and Gavin Hogg’s men will want to avenge the defeat suffered at Woollams in September. Kickoff 15.00hrs.
Team – Hughes, White Martinez, Chamnaoui, Hamilton, Napier, Bond, Stevens, West, Thompson, Starling, Warne, Watt (c), Watson, Anderson, Ricci
Subs – Bond, Morgan, West, Hill, Calder
Tries – Chamnaoui, Thompson
Conversions – Watt
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