COVENTRY moved up to sixth in National League One thanks to a 29-15 victory over Henley Hawks at the Butts Park Arena on Saturday.
Despite the appalling weather conditions, Coventry managed to produce some very telling rugby and they scored four first half tries on their way to a seventh win of the season.
Playing into the wind and rain, Coventry took the lead in the seventh minutes when a quick tap penalty saw skipper George Oliver cross for the first try of the match, although Matt Jones’ conversion attempt did not beat the wind.
All meaningful pressure was on the Berkshire visitors and in the 18th minute Henley’s Payne was yellow carded before three minutes later Rob Knox stormed over for Jones to convert for 12-0.
On a rare visit into Coventry territory James Comben landed an easy penalty for the visitors but pressure was soon back on the Hawks.
While Payne returned Henley prop West immediately replaced him in the bin and more Coventry pressure told when the referee awarded the hosts a penalty try which Matt Jones converted for 19-3 shortly before the half-hour mark.
On 36 minutes came possibly the moment of the match when Coventry moved the ball down the left and after recieving the ball down on his own 10-metre line, Knox beat five players before striding home to the elation of his team mates and the home supporters.
Jones converted the extra points to give Coventry a 26-3 lead at half-time but the hosts found that their opponents would be no pushovers after the break.
Within two minutes of the re-start, first Ben Thomas and then Chad Thorne received yellow cards as Coventry allowed themselves to be drawn into physicality.
Almost immediately against 13 men, Henley through replacement Albon drove over for Comden to convert and reduce the deficit to 16 points.
A disjointed Coventry conceded another try on 63 minutes when flanker Rob Bell went over the line and this time the conversion was successful by Bell.
When the hosts returned to strength they were able to re-group and Dom Lespierre crossed but his effort was ruled out because of a forward pass.
Not to be denied however, as Henley were penalised again, Matt Jones slotted an easy penalty, which was to prove to be his side’s only score of the second half.
There was still time for the referee to issue a fifth yellow card, this time to Henley hooker Emery and the game petered out after the early excitement.
Coventry will face another tough test this Saturday when they travel to Darlington Mowden Park.