Clifton given a lesson in how to finish by Henley
HENLEY have their eyes fixed on promotion and travelled to Cribbs Causeway looking to make the return journey with a try bonus victory under their belts.
They achieved this objective with ease as they swept the home side away in the first half, scoring six tries before the break
A try by winger Xavier Andre, converted by centre Danny Wells in the opening minute, put the visitors on the front foot and left the home side shellshocked.
The score set the pattern for the first half with the visitors' forwards and backs constantly moving the ball at a pace the home side struggled to compete with.
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Scrum-half Luke Carter, a late call up for Joshua Holmes who was on the bench for Wasps in their Amlin Cup game the previous evening, cleverly orchestrated proceedings as the visitors dominated possession.
Tries from Wells, who also kicked six conversions, and Carter kept the scoreboard moving as the Hawks raced into a 21-point lead within a quarter of an hour.
Clifton on the rare occasions they had the ball were always prepared to attempt to move the ball and on a rare visit to the visitors half, full-back Ben Roberts put his side on the board with a penalty.
Almost immediately the Hawks grabbed a bonus-point try when Andre crossed for his second.
Further tries came in rapid succession through lock Joshua McNally and flanker Ryan Newman as the visitors established a 42-point lead on the half-hour.
At this stage Clifton's resolve began to strengthen with their defence beginning to tighten.
At half time, the Clifton faithful were looking at the record books for their heaviest home defeat, but they were well clear of the 13 tries Leeds scored in 84-19 defeat in April 1997.
Clifton's director of rugby Darren Lloyd urged his side to become accountable in his half-time talk to prevent a humiliating final scoreline.
This they did with a much improved second-half performance as conditions worsened.
Clifton began to win worthwhile possession which enabled them to improve the quality of their play with prop Charlie Bullimore launching some storming runs and their backs beginning to test the Hawks' defence.
Territory was shared, but it was the visitors who scored next when centre Neil Baggett went over to end a 55-minute try drought.
Clifton replied with an excellent try created by winger Sam Harrison, who after a 50-metre run, was brought down just short of the line. Centre Will Pomphrey was on hand to pick up the loose ball to touch down.
Clifton's lightweight pack began to tire against the heavier and more physical visitors and when they were awarded a five-metre scrum No 8 Rob Stapley went over with replacement back Will Robinson converting.
Scrum-half Callum Braley dashed over following a break at a scrum with Roberts converting, but the Hawks had the last word when they were award a penalty try in the final minute, which Robinson converted
Clifton's next two games are away to Southend and Lydney, who are both below them in the table.