RUGBY UNION: Super start continues as Stags sample success in a typical A14 derby showdown
- Credit: Archant
An exciting and close contest is traditionally in store when Huntingdon face fierce rivals Kettering.
And the latest A14 derby duel, staged last Saturday at the racecourse, was no different as Stags snatched victory by a single point to continue their terrific start to the Midlands Division One East season.
Damien Whales’ men prevailed 27-26 against his former club – a fifth victory in seven outings – which propelled them into fourth position in the standings.
It was by no means a cakewalk as they saw an early 10-point cushion, provided by a penalty, try and conversion from Dan Malem, wiped out.
Kettering responded to the early Stags flurry with two tries of their own to edge into a narrow advantage, but Malem soon changed that.
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His second penalty was followed by a Reggie Reid try, which Malem also converted, to give Stags a 20-12 lead at the interval.
But, with the prospect of playing uphill and into a strong wind, with Wayne Bradley and Seth Muggeridge both off injured, the hosts also looked vulnerable going into the second period.
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A yellow card for Steven Chantler only increased the difficulty of defending their lead and it was no surprise when Kettering claimed a converted try to close within a point.
Dogged defensive work from Stags followed until they claimed the match-winning try as Kiwi ace Andy Mourits burst the length of the field before off-loading for Tango Morgan to roar over the line.
Stags then had to soak up a torrent of Kettering pressure, which eventually earned the visitors another converted try in the final minute, but it was not to stop the home side celebrating victory.
Huntingdon go to Leighton Buzzard this Saturday.
There was also success for the Stags’ second XV last weekend. Elliott Baldwin kicked a last-minute penalty to earn a 17-15 triumph at Bedford Swifts 1sts.