HUNTINGDON & District suffered their first defeat of the season when they lost 27-14 at Old Laurentians in the quarter finals of the Midlands Intermediate Cup on Saturday.

Stags, who are top of the Midlands Two East South table after winning all nine of their league matches so far this season, were beaten in front of a large home crowd in Warwickshire, but assistant coach Phil Baines had little to moan about after the game.

"It was a fantastic game of rugby and I do believe that the better team won today," he said.

"It was a battle between two fairly evenly match teams and on another day the result could easily have been reversed.

"The focus for us is how we respond next week against Northampton Old Scouts in the league.

"We are disappointed to lose but we can't let this be a black mark on our season and now our sole focus shifts to the league where we are still undefeated."

The home side started the match much the brighter and scored a converted try in the opening 10 minutes from a rolling maul.

Stags got on the score sheet soon after with James Thorpe touching down from a well-worked lineout catch and drive, but the conversion attempt went astray and Old Laurentians added to their tally with two penalty goals to take a 13-5 lead into half time.

Stags played their best rugby of the match for the first 20 minutes of the second spell as they lifted the tempo and pushed into the home side's red zone. The pressure began to mount on OL's and they lost a man to the sin bin, and with the extra man advantage, Stags managed to take the lead with three penalty goals from the boot of Dan Malem.

But, with 15 minutes remaining, OL's got their noses back in front with a converted try and, despite Stags' best efforts, the home side's defence held firm. In the dying stages, the Midlands Two West South side scored a third converted try.

Baines said: "I want to give praise to the team for their defensive effort today, especially the midfield of Wayne Bradley and Chris North, but our man of the match was second rower Dougy Bentley, who played a genuine hard-man role in the pack."

Stags remaining games in December are all in the league. First they are away at Old Scouts in Northampton next weekend, before they welcome Leighton Buzzard to the Racecourse on December 15. On December 22 they are away to Wellingborough.