Another season of progress for Stags, but coach Damien Whales left to reflect on what could have been

Huntingdon coach Damien Whales.

Huntingdon coach Damien Whales. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon saw their best season end with a late nosedive.

Stags’ held on to sixth place in Midlands Division One East despite suffering a third successive defeat last Saturday to close the campaign.

Damien Whales’ men went down 42-21 to Northampton Old Scouts at The Racecourse as they missed out on equalling their tally of 13 wins in the previous season.

But they did exceed the points tally gained last term (65 to 61) and also finished three places higher up the standings - those things achieved despite a campaign littered with a stack of serious injuries as well as the departures of influential men Dan Malem and Mauro de Almeida at the beginning of March.

Steven Chantler became the latest casualty when suffering a fractured ankle in the penultimate fixture against Newbold on Avon after already missing much of the campaign with knee ligament damage.

Whales said: “We’ve continued our progress, which is important, but it will be looked back on as a season of what could have been.

“We’ve been hit hard by injuries and unavailabilities, and also been guilty of throwing so many points away in the late stages of games.

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“We’ve almost limped over the line at the end of the season and last Saturday was a day of positives and negatives.

“It was disappointing to end with a defeat and have so many people out, but it was pleasing to be able to give some colts lads a first taste of first-team rugby.”

Stags fell behind to an early converted try but levelled when Charlie Lee forced his way over with debutant Adam Garrood adding the extras.

The visitors then took command with two further tries in the opening period before they went over twice more early in the second half.

Stags showed grit and determination to reduce their arrears courtesy of tries from Garrood and Sam Durnan.

The former also did the honours with both conversions before a final try for Old Scouts followed to clinch their victory.