Dan Malem led Huntingdon back to winning ways with a stellar display in a Midlands Division One East thriller.

The Stags emerged with a 36-31 success following a Racecourse points-feast against Ilkeston.

Malem single-handedly contributed 26 of them with a classy try, five first-half penalties and three conversions.

Joint-coach Paul Baynes said: "Dan has to be the best goal-kicker in the league and, when he is kicking well, the rest of his game tends to follow. Scoring 26 points in one game is a great achievement."

Despite Malem's accuracy with the boot Huntingdon found themselves trailing until Tad Chapman crossed for their first try just before the break following a fine burst from Steven Chantler.

Malem did the honours with the conversion to edge them ahead, but they were soon behind again following the resumption.

But Huntingdon, who handed new signing Andrew Irving a debut, responded well as Jack Skidmore waltzed over for a try.

Malem obliged with the extras before completing his high-scoring afternoon by darting over himself and make it a hat-trick of conversions.

Ilkeston hit back to create a tense finish with their fifth try of the afternoon and the tight scoreline was a source of irritation to Baynes.

He added: "I'm really pleased with our second-half performance against the wind when our superior size and fitness levels told.

"Unfortunately in the first half our tackling had been unacceptable at times and that made the scoreline considerably closer than it really should have been.

"But it is another example of the fact we can beat top sides at this level when at full strength."

Huntingdon are without a fixture this weekend.