PETE Davies believes Henley Hawks face a real battle if they are to prevent Chinnor from claiming the derby spoils tomorrow.

The Dry Leas-based club made a perfect start to their National League 2 South campaign when beating Redingensians six days ago.

But Hawks face a different test this weekend, taking on a Chinnor side who have not lost at home since January 2016.

Davies believes Henley can take heart from last December’s 29-29 draw at Kingsey Road, but is fully aware his side will have to be at their best.

He said: “We just want to keep the score down, if I’m being really honest.

“If we can do that, they’ve got such good options in their attack, we can try to nick the game in the end.

“It’s going to be a tall order, we’re massive underdogs, and playing at their ground makes it twice as hard.”

Alan Awcock misses out because of work commitments, but they do welcome back Dave Clements to the second row.

Chinnor director of rugby Matt Williams is expecting his side’s 20-game unbeaten record at their Thame base to come under threat.

He said: “Home form counts for very little in a derby.

“Henley will be very keen to cause an upset at our place as much as we’re keen to keep our unblemished record going.”

Chinnor make three changes, with second-row Llewelyn Jones and winger Jamel Hamilton set for their first league starts, while Greg Goodfellow comes in at scrum half.

There are also two derbies in South West 1 East.

Witney, beaten by Banbury in last week’s season opener, host Oxford Harlequins, who also lost their first game.

But coach Richie Craig was enthused by the west Oxfordshire side’s performance.

He said: “There were lots of positives, I thought we were in the game away from home on the first day of the season.

“We’re not a million miles away.”

Quins make five changes, one positional, with Chris Davies, Dion Taylor, Noel O’Brian and Jack Crowe starting, while Guy Fairburn switches to full back.

Head coach Andy Boyle said: “There’s so many local derbies, it’s great, it makes it really interesting.

“We’ve only played one game, but you can always throw the form book out of the window.”

Banbury take on newly-promoted Bicester and head coach Matt Goode is staying level-headed after last week’s perfect start.

He said: “To get a decent five-pointer against Witney is great and we need to push on.

“We’re looking forward to Bicester.”

Grove bid for back-to-back wins when they travel to Stratford Upon Avon.


Chinnor (v Henley Hawks, home): Goss, Hamilton, Barnes, Nawaqaliva, Chesters, Bentley, Goodfellow, Bingham, Hutchinson, Mason, Jones, Green, Manning, Bordill, Bradley. Reps: Price, Oliver, Thorpe, Gliksten, Lamont.

Oxford Harlequins (v Witney, away): Fairburn, DeLange, Edwards, Crowe, Campbell, Dimond, O’Brian, Barlow, Davies, Ramez Farahani, Ojo, Purchase, White, Taylor, Latu. Reps: from Ramen Farahani, Knapp, Nalewabau, Whittingham, Tynian, Stacey, Wiggins.

Witney (v Oxford Harlequins, home): Chapman, Gaffney, Birks, Boshell, Morgan, Lewis, G Campbell, Wilson, Harris, Richens, Webb, Mortimer, George, Craig, C Campbell. Reps: Fuller, Coe, Bayliss.

Wheatley (v Chesham, away): from Rees, Mitchell, Gabbidon, Banton, Gibb, Bland, C Taylor, Neal, Turner, Htanford-Tuck, Janes, Laman, Hobdell, Mpanza, Rule, J Taylor, Hook, Chadbone, Durbin, Hillsden, Barby.