Buzzards oust Stags in thriller
Midlands 3 East (South) Huntingdon Stags 14 Leighton Buzzard 15 IT MAY not be much consolation for Stags, but this game was one of the best games Hinchingbrooke has staged for some considerable time. In front of a good-sized crowd, Stags pushed the leagu
Midlands 3 East (South)
Huntingdon Stags 14 Leighton Buzzard 15
IT MAY not be much consolation for Stags, but this game was one of the best games Hinchingbrooke has staged for some considerable time.
In front of a good-sized crowd, Stags pushed the league leaders every inch of the way and but for a mad five minutes just before the break the result could have been very different.
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Stags had the best of the early exchanges, yet Buzzard went ahead on 10 minutes when a neat sleight of hand in the centre allowing the full-back to run in unchallenged.
Stags were not fazed by this setback and continued to have the better of the battle up front, especially in the loose even though one or two line outs went astray.
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Doug Bentley was securing a quantity of good, off the top ball. Retention was better than of late and a Simon Leader try was just reward for a period of sustained pressure.
Even better was to follow as a quick penalty put Leader in again and with Damien Whales converting both, Stags were 14-5 ahead.
Then came the crucial five-minute spell. Stags won a free-kick but opted to run the ball rather than kick for position. A very minor flare up at the ensuing breakdown saw Elliot Baldwin receive a yellow card. Just before the break Stags' tackling, for once, let them down, allowing Buzzard's left-wing in for a try at the corner, but Stags still led 14-10 at half time.
Early second-half injuries to Tom McCreadie and Leader led to the re-adjustment in the back row and at centre. Buzzard gradually began to win more ball and they re-took the lead from a quickly taken penalty a few yards out.
Stags were still very much in the match and strong ball carrying, especially by Glen Carson and Benny Giglio, kept up the hosts' attacking momentum.
The final quarter was gripping. First, Buzzard camped in the Stags 22 winning a succession of five-metre scrums.
The pressure was severe and it looked as though Stags would buckle but a fine defence all round particularly by the back row allowed them to escape the stranglehold.
Up to the other end and fine inter-passing between Carson and Whales left the latter just a yard short. Seconds later Simon Orange was even closer from a Whales pass, though there was a strong suspicion that the Buzzard tackler prevented clean release.
Still Stags attacked and a penalty went narrowly wide and a drop kick was charged down until, after nine minutes of injury time, a relieved Buzzard kicked the ball out to end the game.
* Tries from Tommy Collins, Tom Morgan, James Turner and two from Alex Anthony helped Stags U16s to a convincing 29-14 win against St Neots. Alex Dyson was MOTM.