Conor Corrigan attacks for Henley.
Henley started the stronger of the two sides and made good use of the perfect conditions at Dry Leas by keeping the ball in hand and moving the point of attack effectively to stretch the visitors defence. This sustained pressure was soon rewarded with a try for prop Craig Parker who was driven over from short range.
Henley were soon back on the attack thanks to some powerful running from Shek Sherrif, who was also able to offload effectively to keep the ball alive. With half backs Rob Waldron and Liam Shields distributing well, Henley were making good use of the front foot ball, eventually allowing Jackson Burton to record his second try in two games. Shields added the conversions via a deflection off the left hand upright.
Ivybridge soon replied, when their No. 8 barreled over from a 5m scrum to score next to the posts, the conversion further reduced the deficit to 12-7. Henley restored their advantage just before half time, courtesy of some offensive defence. Good line speed in midfield resulted in a wayward pass by the Ivybridge fly half and flanker Jack Willis was on hand to scoop up the loose pass and race in from 30 metres. Shields added the extras to give Henley a 19-7 lead at the break.
Ten minutes into the 2nd half a clearing kick from Ivybridge was fielded on halfway, the ball was transferred to centre Noah Jarvis who stepped through the oncoming defence, dummied the full back to run in a fine individual try from 50 metres.
At 24-7, Henley looked to be well in control, but the momentum soon changed when they lost two players to the sin bin in quick succession. Their third mistake was to continue to try and play expansive rugby, with only 13 players on the field. When Henley coughed the ball up just inside their own half, Ivybridge made good use of their numerical advantage to send their winger in the right hand corner. Although the touchline conversion was wide, the kicker soon atoned by slotting a simple penalty and the Devon side were back in the game at 24 – 15.
With Henley still down to 14, Ivybridge produced a clinical set piece move to score under the posts and were now scenting an unlikely victory. They had one clear chance to win the game but a relatively simple penalty was pushed to the right and Henley were relieved to hear the full time whistle a couple of minutes later.
Apart from the last quarter where some ill discipline and poor game management allowed the opposition back into the game, Henley were good value for their bonus point win. This will have given them some confidence in the lead up to two stiff challenges ahead, an away fixture v St Pauls before they host Hartpury at Dry Leas on October 16th.