Henley Hawks 25
A BATTLE in the Regentsholme mud saw Henley come out on top to maintain their promotion charge with the home side once again failing to get any reward for 80 minutes of hard graft.
As so often this season, Lydney allowed their opponents to build a match-winning lead before fighting back and again they were unable to get close enough to secure a losing bonus point.
An open and entertaining first half began with Lydney taking the game to promotion-hunting Henley and after driving a maul into the Henley 22, Danny Trigg opened the scoring with a tenth-minute penalty.
Having withstood Lydney's early fire, Henley responded and began to take control of the game. They tied the scores thanks to Will Robinson's penalty and followed that with a try set up by a good break from Jonah Holmes, who left Xavier Andre with a straightforward finish.
Robinson added the conversion and tacked on an easy three points after the Lydney defence strayed offside.
Henley withstood some pressure from the home side and scored on the counter. Martin Nutt fielded a high kick from Josh Hannam and sliced through a scattered defence to feed Robinson, who raced to the line for an unconverted try.
Lydney had a final chance of points with the last play of the half but Trigg missed a tricky penalty kick.
The second period struggled to get going as both sides rang the changes and the mud and cold began to take effect. The referee even blew the pea out of his whistle and had to change it.
The first score of the half finally came with nine minutes remaining.
The Lydney scrum was pushed over the try line and a stray home boot hacked the ball away, leading to a penalty try converted by Robinson.
Suddenly, Henley had thoughts of securing a bonus point and a meandering game sprang into life.
Lydney responded and drove into the 22 before mauling their way over the line from close range for a score in the corner awarded to Ben Taylor. Trigg added a superb conversion.
Hannam then powered up the right wing to set up the position that produced Lydney's second try as Dave Bennett's clever kick behind the defence was touched down by Chris Holder.
Henley laid siege to the home line as the referee played a generous amount of stoppage time. Taylor was sin-binned for a tip tackle on former Forester Luke Carter but the defence held firm, denying the visitors their extra point.
LYDNEY: Tony Wicks; Josh Hannam, Chris Holder, Josh Innes, Alex Hall; Danny Trigg, James Graham; Paul Price (Capt.), Ben Lewis, Sam Winchcombe; Sam Thomson, Dave Bennett; Tim Longton, Will Jones; Charlie Daniell. Replacements: Danny Chui (for Hall, HT), Ollie Day (for Winchcombe, HT), Leigh Green (for Price, 52), Ben Taylor (for Jones, 54), Matt Williams (for Graham, 62).
HENLEY HAWKS: Martin Nutt; Xavier Andre, Jevon Marsh, Tom Allen (Capt.), Richard Briggs; Will Robinson, Jonah Holmes; Hugo Milford-Scott, Liam Dwyer, David Manning; Dave Clements, Josh McNally; Matt Payne, Will Woodward; Robbie Stapley. Replacements: Dai Maddocks (for Milford-Scott, HT), Ben Ashmore (for Payne, 54), Jim Hadfield (for Manning, 67), Neil Baggett (for Marsh, 58), Luke Carter (for Andre, 54).
Referee: Fergus Kirby (RFU appointment)
Star Man: Charlie Daniell was a tower of strength for Lydney, especially at the line out where he was secure with Lydney ball and stole a number against the throw