REDRUTH 17 – 11 HENLEY HAWKS
By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground
Ducks may well have enjoyed the conditions at the Rec on Saturday, but it was the Redruth forwards who savoured the weather as they “drowned” the Hawks to record a morale-boosting win against the league leaders.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks with the club making headlines for the wrong reasons, however there can be no disputing with the results over the past two weeks that the players and coaching staff are determined to do their bit for the club and the supporters.
The reaction from his players was exactly what Director of Rugby and Head Coach Adrian Edwards was expecting. He said. “It’s not just about the result today, but when you look at what’s happened at the club over the past two weeks. The win today coupled with last week’s win at Shelford and the whole club’s togetherness and attitude of everybody has been fantastic, I think that’s been brilliant for the club and I am so pleased for everyone involved”.
Edwards was also able to dispel rumours about any players leaving the club. “I have spoken to other clubs to be honest with you the contracts are there to be had. There has been talk about one or two players, and like with Peter Joyce you would never stand in the way of a player bettering themselves, but at the moment no one has said they want to leave and they all want to get on with the job at Redruth”.
Aside from events off the park, Edwards turned to his charges latest performance. “I thought that last week’s first half performance was as good as it gets, but today to go in 17-3 up topped that. Our scrums and lineout was good and we had a bit of control our defence was good, they (Henley) had the ball for the first seven minutes and they didn’t get anywhere. Things like that shows character, if you haven’t got it there areas such as your defence can tend to go quite quickly. Yes a great first half performance from us”.
Edwards also had warm words of praise for full-back Murray Westren a late call up on the morning of the match and who fielded the constant barrage of high balls that rained down on him with great maturity. “Steve Evans called me this morning when he learned that Lewis Vinnicombe had to drop out due to work commitments, we discussed the various options he felt that Murray could do the job and his judgement was proved to be spot on, what a great debut in those conditions I take my hat off to him for a great game”.
Playing up the slope, Henley enjoyed territory and possession during the opening ten minutes, however they found the Redruth defence a tough nut to crack, all they had to show for their endeavours was a penalty kicked by fly-half James Comben.
Redruth’s forwards began to get the upper-hand with the front row of Darren Jacques, Richard Brown and Craig Williams putting the Hawks’ front row under huge pressure in the set-piece. Locks Luke Collins and Damien Cook along with the back row of skipper Chris Fuca Ben Priddey and Tom Duncan worked tirelessly.
That domination culminated with the award of a penalty-try by referee Jonathan Healey as the Hawks pack infringed as Redruth drove towards the line from a scrum. Paul Thirlby kicked the conversion to put Redruth 7-3 up after 13 minutes.
Henley were putting up the high ball with Westren, Tom Notman and Nick Simmons dealing with the threat.
A fine charge into the Henley half by Jacques led to a penalty allowing Thirlby to extend the Redruth’s lead.
With their tails well and truly up Redruth looked for another score before the break.
Further fine work from the forwards saw Duncan felled just short of the line, however Brown was on-hand to claim the try, which was finally awarded by the referee after a moment or two’s reflexion and no little encouragement from the home crowd!
Thirlby’s conversion gave Redruth the cushion they required at half-time.
Redruth came out in a changed strip for the second half having donned their white shirts at half-time, not that they stayed white for long.
With conditions worsening all the time it was likely to be an up-hill struggle for the Hawks and so it proved to be.
Thirlby missed with a penalty chance to extend Redruth’s lead after 45 minutes.
Henley threw everything they had at the Reds, however the home defence soaked up the Hawks attacks.
Comben managed to reduce the deficit with a penalty after 62 minutes, however their frustrations grew and were compounded with a yellow card for their winger Xavier Andre whose high tackle on Westren was more clumsy than dangerous.
With just four minutes remaining Henley finally breeched the Redruth defence when replacement Dave Manning crossed toward the Piggy lane corner in the gathering gloom to give his side a losing bonus point.
Redruth saw out the final few moments to record a well-deserved win and send their drenched supporters home in good heart.
Redruth have no game next week and will resume their National League 2 South campaign on Saturday 8th December with a trip to Southend.