Huntingdon Stags face Dunstablians test after Dan Malem kicks Bugbrooke into touch

HUNTINGDON & District coach Damian Wales called his side’s start to 2013 ‘magical’ after the Stags scraped a win at home to Bugbrooke to remain top of the Midlands Two East South table.

After three losses in a row as the old year closed, Stags kicked that losing streak into touch on Saturday when they came up against one of the division’s better sides to win 17-15.

Now the team travel to Dunstablians, who are second in the table, for a massive match this weekend.

Wales said: “I woke up with a creepy feeling that today was going to be tough and boy oh boy was I right.

“It was a scrappy game in some respects but the boys stuck in there and somehow managed to conjure up a win. Magical.”

Playing with the wind behind their backs, Bugbrooke had the Stags pinned down in their territory for the first 20 minutes, and the visitors forced a penalty which was narrowly missed.

Stags found themselves struggling to get out of their half and a poor decision gave Bugbrooke a second shot at goal which they duly converted for 3-0.

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Stags came to life with some inspiring breaks from the two centres Jesse Mills and Tango Morgan, and the team’s forwards piled on the pressure, with Bugbrooke’s No 7 receiving a yellow card.

This gave Stags no choice but to opt for the scrum, which eventually led to a penalty try. Dan Malem added the two points to give Huntingdon a 7-3 half-time lead.

An early second half Stags penalty, converted by Malem, was soon squandered as Bugbrooke made an impressive break down the wing and ran in their first try.

This was soon followed up by another impressive backs’ try from Bugbrooke which was converted to make it 15-10 with just 15 minutes left on the clock.

At this stage, a win looked very unlikely for Stags, who also picked up two yellow cards in quick succession.

But with Chris Pape spearheading the attack, Bugbrooke had to hold out for the last five minutes, defending their line.

A neat move from Ben Stangeways opened up a gap for Malem to squeeze through and get the ball down in a crowded area in the last play of the game.

With the game tied at 15-15, Malem converted his try with a sweet strike from a tricky angle.

Midlands Two East South: Biggleswade 9-11 Wellingborough, Dunstablians 30-7 Vipers, Huntingdon & District 17-15 Bugbrooke, Lutterworth 24-12 Northampton BBOB, Market Harborough 21-17 Leighton Buzzard, Oadby Wyggestonians 21-26 Northampton Old Scouts.

BOTH of Huntingdonshire’s Midlands Four East South sides were without a game when their opponents failed to show up on Saturday.

St Ives and St Neots were both due to play at home but strugglers Wellingborough Old Grammarians and Stamford College Old Boys were both unable to raise teams and the Hunts duo were award home walkovers.

Leaders Brackley, who are the only remaining side in the division with a win in every game, thrashed Bourne 102-0.

This Saturday St Neots are at Wellingborough and second placed St Ives are away at Aylestone Athletic.

Midlands Four East South: Bedford Swifts 53-5 Thorney, Brackley 102-0 Bourne, Corby 5-13 Westwood, Oundle 53-0 Aylestone Athletic, St Ives HWO Wellingborough OG, St Neots HWO Stamford College Old Boys.