Huntingdon Stags seconds ease into the H&P final

HUNTINGDON Stags seconds booked their place in the final of the Hunts & Peterborough Cup when they beat Thorney 24-10 on Saturday.

Playing with a strong wind at their backs Stags dominated possession and territory but poor decision making and a robust Thorney defence led to a number of early chances going begging.

It was not until the 24th minute that the Stags unlocked the Thorney defence when a strong scrummage gave fly half Dan Malem time on the ball and dummy runs from centres Steve Foster and Charlie Cook opened up a gap for Malem to waltz through for the first try which he converted himself.

Not long after that, captain Foster found himself in enough space to run 40 metres for the second try which Malem also converted for 14-0.

Stags laid siege to the Thorney line for the rest of the half, dominating the scrums, but failing to capitalise on their possession and the elements.

Thorney rallied in the second half, playing to their strengths and keeping the ball tight. Stags struggled to gain possession and conceded first a penalty and then a try, with the previously watertight midfield and defence opened up by a backs move for 14-10.

It was then that Stags stepped up a gear and played some of their best rugby. Another good scrum allowed No8 Selim Sheik to make ground and the recycled ball was moved left with quick hands from fly half Malem to flanker Roger Shakespeare onto Foster who slipped a sublime pass to the looping Malem for his second score of the match.

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Stags were now buoyant, running the ball at will and counter-attacking when Thorney kicked deep. Dale Ablitt was pulled down yards short of the line and with five minutes to go Stags’ continued pressure told again when Foster was deemed to have been held up over the line.

From the penalty in front of the posts a quick tap saw the ball moved wide to Shakespeare who dummied and went over for the final try.