RUGBY UNION: Huntingdon chief Damien Whales insists high-scoring loss at Lutterworth was a game that got away

Dan Malem was one of the Huntingdon try-scorers in their high-scoring clash at Lutterworth.

Dan Malem was one of the Huntingdon try-scorers in their high-scoring clash at Lutterworth. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon coach Damien Whales admitted a narrow Midlands Division One East defeat last Saturday should have been a success.

Whales’ men went down 37-35 at Lutterworth in a contest which featured nine tries, plenty of classy running rugby and no shortage of errors. The final outcome dented Stags’ hopes of securing fourth place.

Whales said: “It was a game that got away from us in all honesty.

“We had the elements at our backs in the second half and were in a position to close the game out, but some poor decision-making and conceding silly penalties ended up costing us.

“We did pick up a couple of points, which is always a positive on the road, but it should have been five.

“I’m sure it would have been a brilliant game from a spectator’s point-of-view, but it certainly wasn’t from mine. Conceding 37 points is unbelievable in all honesty, especially as we didn’t play poorly by any means.”

Stags were in arrears for the vast majority of the game after the teams had traded early penalties – Dan Malem doing the honours for them.

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Two Lutterworth tries soon left them trailing, but a Ben Strangeways touchdown pulled Stags back into contention.

Another home score soon followed before Malem delivered a response for Huntingdon when going over at the end of a well-worked move.

He couldn’t steer over that conversion and also struck a post with a penalty attempt just before the break, but Malem did succeed in cutting Stags’ seven-point arrears when guiding over another kick early in the second half.

A long spell of pressure followed, but they couldn’t take advantage and were stung by a breakaway try from the hosts. Stags weren’t about to roll over, though.

Malem’s boot (with a successful penalty and conversion) and a Barnie West try brought them back to within a point of Lutterworth.

Once again they let the initiative slip as the home side cashed in a penalty and went over for a try before Matt Waring pounced on a loose ball to register a try which earned Huntingdon a pair of bonus points.

Stags return to The Racecourse this Saturday when hosting Market Rasen & Louth, 3pm

Whales added: “Market Rasen have shot up the table in recent weeks, but they tend to be the sort of team who are much stronger at home than they are away. That applies to us as well and we need to make sure we put in a performance and pick up the points at home.”

St Neots were pushed closer to relegation in Midlands Division Three South (East) by a 56-17 loss at Northampton Casuals last Saturday. They host another Northampton side, Men’s Own, this Saturday.

St Ives’ trip to Men’s Own last weekend was postponed. The Bulls are on the road again this Saturday when going to table-toppers Stewart & Lloyds, who still boast a 100 per-cent record.