RUGBY: A return to winning ways for battling Huntingdon
- Credit: Archant
Rugby Huntingdon Stags 29 Leighton Buzzard 22
Huntingdon returned to winnings by easing to victory over Leighton on Saturday at the Racecourse ground.
After the disappointment of a heavy defeat to promotion-chasing Kettering last week, Stags once again found form, with tries from Dan Malem and Thomas Morgan helping secure success.
A sluggish start from the hosts afforded Buzzards plenty of possession and they made it pay early on as they notched up a penalty before adding a converted try in a 10-minute salvo.
Stags clawed their way back into the match, however, weathering further pressure before strong approach work by Sam Durnan and Wayne Bradley gave Dan Malem the opportunity to run in from 25 metres. Malem converted and then kicked a penalty to restore parity.
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The momentum continued to be with the home side and two more Malem penalties took it to 16-10 before Luke Murphy was yellow-carded for offside just before the break. It was the cue for Buzzard to put together some crisp passing and a neat loop and at 16-15 at half-time the match was in the balance.
For the next 30 minutes Stags took the game by the scruff of its neck, Buzzard barely progressing out of their half. When Andy Mourits charged down a clearing kick, the visiting 12 received a yellow card for holding him back. It was borderline for a penalty try, but Malem kicked the ensuring penalty for 19-15.
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When a Buzzard attack went wrong in midfield, Malem and Tom Morgan pounced, grubber kicked ahead and controlled the ball on the ground for Morgan to cross the line.
The conversion and a fifth penalty took it to 29-15 and when the Buzzard flanker received a yellow card, the floodgates might, and perhaps should, have opened. Glen McIntyre, Morgan, who looked sharp and dangerous all afternoon, and Malem then combined but the ball just eluded the last named on the try line.
Buzzard were not finished, however, and forced a way back into the game. A yellow card for Roger Shakespeare in the 78th minute, the fourth in the match, gave them the impetus for a further converted try and a bonus point.
Despite a late surge, the hosts held on for the win and a satisfying afternoon’s work.
Coach Damien Whales’ side now look forward to a testing end to the season. Their next match is on March 4, at Lutterworth, the only side this season to have won at the Racecourse.