Henley opened their 30th season with a comfortable 7-0 victory over a much-weakened Leiston St Margarets, who have suffered an exodus of players over the summer.

Henley’s new signings Mark and Gavin Van Oene, and Richard Lynch, all started, with George Clayton Leeks and Luke Reid also debuting from the bench.

From kick-off Henley dominated the entire game, laying siege to the visitor’s goal throughout and denying them even a single attempt at the home goal. Even in the first minute the excellent LSM keeper Nick Whiting was called into action making a terrific save from George Ablitt, chances kept coming with shots going narrowly wide and more saves from Bruce, Liam and George Ablitt, White, Van Oene and Tejano. In fact it wasn’t until the 28th minute when a handball gave Henley a penalty, pinged expertly into the corner by Bruce, ten minutes later it was 2-0, from yet another penalty, slammed into the opposite corner this time by Bruce. Bruce completed a bizarre first half hat-trick of penalties on 44 minutes to make it 3-0 at the break.

The management rang the changes in the 2nd half utilising all 4 substitutes and trying players in different positions, despite which their dominance continued. On 52 minutes a shot from Liam Ablitt was saved by Whiting but headed in by Tejano for 4-0. Whiting’s heroics continued with a sequence of fantastic saves from Van Oene, Bruce, Clayton-Leeks and a simply breathtaking tip-over of a Watling drive.

But he could only hold out for so long and on the 80th minute Watling slid a shot under him for 5-0 and within a minute Clayton-Leeks finished off a team move from close range, his debut goal making it 6-0. However, the best was still to come as Clayton-Leeks cut the ball back for Watling to curl a delightful finish into the corner for a final score of 7-0.

A good start to the season in front of a crowd of 62, but still plenty of room for improvement from Henley, as the new signings bed in with the existing side. The Henley Ultras MOTM vote was a split between Clark Bruce and exciting debutant George Clayton-Leeks, although most home supporters thought the real MOTM was Nick Whiting between the sticks for LSM, who gave an epic performance. Much credit to LSM, clearly going through a phase of rebuilding, they didn’t drop their heads and kept playing the right way throughout, to a man, they were a credit to their club.