LUKE Allen is hoping his Henley Hawks side are recharged and ready for their top-of-the-table clash at home to Rams.

The Oxfordshire side kick-start 2019 with a mouth-watering fixture against National League 2 South’s pacesetters.

Second-placed Hawks trail the Sonning-based side by 11 points, but head into tomorrow's fixture on the back of 11 wins in their last 12 games.

Allen, who is in his first season as Henley’s head coach, is cautious about his side’s promotion hopes, but is looking forward to the test.

He said: “We gave the boys the whole of Christmas off to enjoy it, not think about rugby and to recover.

“If I had been asked about promotion at the start of the season I wouldn’t have answered.

“But you can’t win as many games as we have and not have it in the back of your minds.

“However, it’s our first season together and if I talk about it now we will shoot ourselves in the foot.

“I don’t want the players to get above their station and we have more potential to deliver.

“This weekend will be a fantastic test as to where we are as a team.”

Henley are yet to name their starting XV, but props Brad Cook and Zac Clarke are available for selection.

Marcus Hall and Tom Hall face fitness tests, while Xav Andre is away.

Allen added: “We’re in a positive place and I don’t fear Rams.

“We need to make sure we’re prepared individually, we feel confident in our processes and our plays and we can try to tear into them.

“They’re a really good team, their pack is well oiled and their back line is pacey and fluid, but I think we can match that and more.”

Chinnor return to National League 1 action with a home clash against Cambridge.

The Thame-based side are on a four-match unbeaten run at Kingsey Road.

Chinnor edged tomorrow’s opponents 22-20 in September and director of rugby Matt Williams is predicting another close battle.

He said: “They will be very keen to get their own back on us and we’re eager to start the year off in a winning fashion.

“It will be a game between two of the best attacking teams in the league.”

Chinnor make one change from their win over Ampthill on December 22, with Josh Hodson replacing captain Danny Barnes on the wing.

Williams said: “Josh came off the bench and scored a worldy of a try and therefore needs to be rewarded with a start.”

In South West 1 East, Witney are bidding to close the six-point gap to safety in a crunch clash at fifth-bottom Beaconsfield.

They head into the fixture full of confidence on the back of successive victories at the end of 2018.

Captain Matt Clarke said: “We definitely believe we can now stay up.

“The last two games have changed our mindset from hoping we can win to believing.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’ve definitely got confidence.”

Oxford Harlequins welcome back flankers Taniela Hakalo and Joe Nalewabau for their home clash against Stratford-upon-Avon.

Head coach Andy Boyle is hoping his side can start the new year in a positive manner after ending 2018 with a first win in six games.

He said: “We’ve got to look at getting five points on Saturday.

“January could be a good month for us as we’re playing a lot of the teams that are in and around us.

“But we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Third-placed Banbury look to make it seven wins in a row when they travel to Chippenham.

With Newbury Blues already running away with the title, head coach Matt Goode has his sights set on second and the league’s sole play-off spot.

He said: “I think that’s where we should be.

“Obviously with the injuries at the beginning of the season we lost a lot of momentum.

“I think we’ll be back to our best soon, getting some good wins and enjoying what we do out on the pitch.”


Chinnor (v Cambridge, home): Goss, Hodson, A Dancer, Nawaqaliva, Joseph, Holland, Hoadley, Ellwood, George, Gilding, Thomas, Ramshaw, J Dancer, Bordill, Burns. Reps: Betts, Oliver, Manning, Barnes, Goodfellow.

Henley Hawks (v Rams, home): from Randall, Wood, Barnes, Griffiths, Giles, Webb, Primett, Emery, Manning, Parkins, Hyde, Lunnon, White, Bradley, Clarke, Cook, Lowe, T Hall, Deacon, Dumbrava, Goodison, L O’Neill, R O’Neill, M Hall.

Banbury (v Chippenham, away): Gray, Joe Mills, Goode, Briggs, Boyle, Stoop, Phillips, Winpenny, Isham, Boulton, Carr-Archer, Pratt, Jacob Mills, S Mills, Berridge. Reps: Key, Brock, Burman.

Oxford Harlequins (v Stratford-upon-Avon, home): J Henderson, M Henderson, Stacey, Nutt, Turetta, Jones, O’Brian, Cashman, Davies, Barlow, Myatt, Purchase, Nalewabau, Hakalo, Latu. Reps: Farahani, White, Moore.

Witney (v Beaconsfield, away): Clarke, Morgan, B Fisk, Hankinson, Gaffney, Puddle, Birks, Dore, Merriman, Wakeman, Mortimer, Webb, Campbell, Clothier, Coe. Reps: Nobbs, Edwards, Strutt.

Grove (v Sherborne, away): McCarthy, Jones, Hull, Coombs, Davies, Wiltshire, O Nicholl, Hales, Hook, Walsh, Marshall, Miles, Lambourn, G Nicholl, B Nicholl. Reps: Cooper, Avenall, Monks.


Southern Counties North: Slough v Littlemore, Aylesbury v Bicester, Wallingford v Buckingham.

Southern Counties South: Sherborne v Grove.

BB&O Premier: Oxford v Hungerford, Risborough v Gosford All Blacks, Wheatley v Didcot.

BB&O Championship: Aldermaston v Faringdon, Berkshire Shire Hall v Chipping Norton, Winslow v Harwell.