Rasen victory tastes so sweet for Stags but it comes at a cost

Matthew Davies-Binge scored Huntingdon's first try in their first victory at Market Rasen & Louth.

Matthew Davies-Binge scored Huntingdon's first try in their first victory at Market Rasen & Louth. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon emerged from a high-scoring thriller in possession of a valuable Midlands Division One East away triumph last Saturday.

Stags made their long trip to North Lincolnshire a successful one as they swooped for a first-ever victory at Market Rasen & Louth.

But head coach Damien Whales admitted his men made life harder for themselves than it needed to be as they snatched a 39-35 win which was marred by a couple of injury blows.

Number eight Nick Vallance picked up a potentially serious knee problem and tackling powerhouse Mauro Almeida sustained a knock to the ankle.

“The game should not have been as close as it ended up being,” said Whales.

“We were not always clinical enough and our defence was not as strong as it should have been at times, but we did enough to pick up a pleasing bonus point away win.

“It keeps us in sixth position in the table and we have already got a lot of tough away games out of the way. The potential is there to go on a charge in the second half of the season, but we could certainly have done without picking up more injuries.”

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A Dan Malem penalty opened the scoring last Saturday and was swiftly followed by a try from the rampaging Matthew Davies-Binge as Stags eased into the driving seat.

But the hosts soon responded to hit the front courtesy of a converted try and a penalty of their own.

The pendulum swung back the way of Stags as they claimed two tries to sandwich another penalty from Market Rasen. Wayne Bradley burst forward and slipped a pass to Malem who converted his own try before Billy Bates continued a rich vein of form by touching down for the third successive match.

And Stags soon increased their seven-point interval advantage following the resumption as prop James Thorp bulldozed over the line for two tries in quick succession.

Malem did the honours with the boot on both occasions, but any thoughts of a cakewalk were soon dispelled as the home side rallied.

They notched 17 unanswered points to put the outcome in the balance, but Stags came up with a decisive try as Bates scampered in the corner after a break down the left from Connor Withers.

Market Rasen went over again to reduce the gap to four points, but that proved enough for Stags to taste success on their travels.

Huntingdon now face back-to-back home games on the next two Saturdays against struggling sets of opposition.

Matlock are the first visitors to the Racecourse this Saturday (2.15pm) before Newark arrive on December 5.