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RUGBY: Henley tops in battle of the champs
11:00am Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Sport
HENLEY Hawks beat Hull Ionians 40-20 at Dry Leas in the battle of last season’s champions promoted to National 1.
National 2 South winners Hawks outscored North champions Ionians by six tries to three, but took time to settle.
Henley are now fairly comfortable in mid-table, but their only wins so far have come against the division’s bottom two sides.
No 8 Robbie Stapley gave them the lead with a try from a driving maul on 15 minutes, fly half James Comben converting with a clever improvised drop goal after the ball had fallen off its tee.
Hawks capitalised on a fumble by Hull scrum half Adam Smith to send his opposite number Luke Carter over for the first of his two tries, Comben converting.
Henley wasted further chances, while Hull hit back with a penalty from fly half Chris Reakes.
Captain Martin Nutt and wing Alan Awcock went over for Hawks before half-time, Comben converting both.
Ionians powered back with 12 points in four minutes as centre Richard Fletcher and prop David Laverick scored tries, Reakes converting one.
Carter’s solo try down the blindside restored Henley’s momentum.
Lock Dave Clements powered over for Hawks’ sixth try, converted by wing Liam O’Neill.
Ionians’ No 8 Dan Hague made the line in the corner from the final move of the match.
Hawks have a decent chance to push towards their target of a top-six place when they visit Cinderford on Saturday.
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