RUGBY UNION: Heavy derby defeat brings Huntingdon back down to earth, but head coach remains positive

The boot of Dan Malem provided the only Huntingdon points in their loss at Kettering.

The boot of Dan Malem provided the only Huntingdon points in their loss at Kettering. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon came back down to earth with a soggy, sorry bump last Saturday.

A joyous January gave way to a forgettable first February outing as Stags crashed 46-6 to Kettering in an A14 derby clash.

As such a heavy scoreline - and a try count of seven-to-nil - might suggest, Damien Whales’ men were second-best in virtually all departments.

But, as the club’s head coach admitted afterwards, that was probably to be expected on a day when his squad was hit by a host of unavailabilities.

Whales said: “We had 10 players out and it is a tough task to face any team in that situation - let alone a very good side like Kettering.

“We were never really going to win the game under those circumstances, but the frustrating thing was that we gifted 20-odd points away through naivety.

“However, I was really proud of a side which featured several youngsters on the whole.”

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Kettering quickly hit the front with their opening try before Daniel Malem kicked the first of his two penalties to cut the deficit.

He also replied with the boot after the hosts stretched their lead with a try which stemmed from a short throw at a line out, and then sent a third penalty attempt against a post.

But Stags found themselves 15 points in arrears by the break and that margin continued to increase during the second period as Kettering added four further tries despite playing with 14 men following a red card.

Stags dropped two places to sixth in the Midlands Division One East standings.

Their only other February fixture is this Saturday, when they entertain third-bottom Leighton Buzzard at The Racecourse, 2.15pm.