RUGBY UNION: Clinical Chapman’s kicking masterclass means there is opening day derby delight for Stags

Tad Chapman sent over seven penalties to star for Stags.

Tad Chapman sent over seven penalties to star for Stags. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon put the boot into a set of local rivals when making a winning start to the Midlands Division One East season.

That didn’t look a likely scenario as Stags trailed to promoted Peterborough for 75 minutes of their curtain-raiser at Hinchingbrooke School - the club’s regular Racecourse base was unavailable - but the kicking of Tad Chapman saw them home.

He was responsible for all of his side’s points in a 21-20 triumph, sending over all seven of his penalty attempts to settle a scrappy contest.

Stags could have been forgiven for fearing they might be weak in the kicking department following the summer exit of Daniel Malem to higher-level Peterborough Lions, but Chapman proved himself to be a cool and clinical customer.

His side, who gave a debut to new recruit Matt Cole in the back row, made a poor start to the game. They were behind to a converted try before even managing to get their hands on the ball.

A Peterborough penalty swiftly followed, but three Chapman strikes trimmed the arrears to a single point by the break.

The deficit grew again courtesy of another converted try from the visitors in the second period, but Stags clawed their way back into the contest.

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Chapman kicked another penalty before Glen McIntyre – the stand-out Stags performer on the day - saw a try disallowed.

But that frustration only served to intensify the home side’s efforts. Two more blasts from the boot of Chapman sandwiched a Peterborough penalty and left Stags two points short of their rivals.

But that narrow deficit became a match-winning advantage when Chapman maintained his 100 per-cent success rate by slotting over the decisive penalty from out wide.

Stags now face a relegated side in their second outing of the new campaign. They go to Syston, who were champions at this level two seasons ago, this Saturday.

Two other local sides roar into action as St Ives begin their Midlands Division Three East (South) challenge with a trip to Dunstablians, while St Neots go to Deepings for their first Midlands Division Four East (South) test following relegation.