Henley bounce back against Bicester
Pratt's excellent performance topped off with a brace.
After being on the wrong end of a disappointingly one-sided encounter away to Newbury last week, Henley 2s were keen to make amends on their return to Jubilee Park this week as Bicester rolled in to town. Henley knew from their exchanges last seasons that the visitors are an efficient side that can make the most of few chances, so they would need to be on their game from start to finish, and they certainly started the game in bright fashion.
Club-wide selection headaches meant another shuffle of the pack for the home side, but in the opening stages it didn’t show and Henley played with a speed and fluidity that threatened to blow the visitors away. After around 10 minutes, their dominance paid dividends, turning the ball over in their own 25, then a sweeping team move, covering length and breadth of the pitch was converted by skipper Dan Herbert charging in from the right to give Henley the lead. Their lead double a few moments later as Toby Pratt stepped up from centre back to flick home from a short corner.
Henley maintained the ascendancy and created many chances, but could not extend their lead and were stunned 10 minutes from half time when a collection of missed tackles allowed the Bicester winger to wobble in from the right and scuff one home to claw one back. The visitors confidence visibly boosted, the remainder of the half was far more closely contested and when the break came, the 2s knew they were in a game.
A reassertion of their values at half time, and Henley quickly had their 2 goal advantage restored with James Rechner hitting home from close range shortly after the restart. Another unlikely goal for Bicester not long after though meant it remained a nervy half until Jeremy Hughes-Byrne extended Henley’s lead once more, and from this point in, the home side really controlled the game with patient controlled possession, the visitors getting increasingly frustrated as the game petered out.
The game was finally put to bed as a contest when Pratt confidently converted a Penalty stroke to make it 5-2 the final score to secure a much needed 3 points for the Amber and Blues.