RUGBY UNION: Poor discipline, average performance, but still more January joy for Huntingdon
- Credit: Archant
Head coach Damien Whales has called for his Huntingdon players to smarten up in the wake of a third successive victory.
Stags battled to a 13-6 win against Wellingborough at The Racecourse last weekend to continue their triumphant January in Midlands Division One East.
All the Huntingdon points arrived in the first half with a Tad Chapman penalty being followed by tries from Glen McIntyre and Barnie West.
And, with bottom club Ilkeston set to visit this Saturday, 2.15pm, Whales’ target of an unbeaten month looks more than likely to be hit.
However, he is still not completely happy with the performances of a Stags side whose discipline let them down against Wellingborough.
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Whales said: “It was really poor and that’s something we need to address.
“We conceded a ridiculous amount of penalties and picked up three yellow cards – and could easily have had more.
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“We need to be smarter and ensure we don’t have to play a man down for half-an-hour.
“That said, it was another case of managing to win a game on a day when we had a lot of people carrying knocks.
“It’s not September or March – you have to adapt to the conditions and grind out victories at this time of year. The 30-or-40-point wins you get early and late in the season don’t tend to happen too often in the middle of winter.
“Starting the second half of the season with three wins is pleasing, but we need to make sure that becomes four this weekend.”
Chapman, assuming kicking duties with Dan Malem sidelined by a bout of flu, sent over a penalty to put Stags ahead.
McIntyre then went over for their first try following a succession of picks and drives into the heart of Wellingborough territory.
Stags had to soak up plenty of pressure – especially when Roger Shakespeare took a seat for 10 minutes in the sin bin – before extending their advantage when West darted in at the corner.
The 13-point cushion looked to be a match-winning one in an attritional game, and that proved to be the case even though Stags were below par in the second half.
They failed to cash in on plenty on plenty of possession before West’s petulance resulted in a yellow card and a reduced lead as Peter Vickers guided over a penalty for Wellingborough.
Stags then went on to concede a further five penalties in just nine minutes – a run which led to three more points for the visitors and a third Huntingdon yellow card for Jack Skidmore.
But they did enough to continue their winning run and keep hold of fourth place in the standings ahead of the visit of bottom side Ilkeston. Maintaining that position would provide the club with a best-ever finish.
They hope to have the prolific Malem back, but one man not likely to feature for some time is hooker Seth Muggeridge, who slipped a disc during last Saturday’s game.