DESPITE only beating Wellingborough at Cut Throat Lane 12-10 on Saturday, Huntingdon & District are playing with the confidence, self belief and arrogance of title winners – at least, that’s what coach Damian Wales believes.
And why wouldn’t he? Huntingdon are fast closing in on, first promotion, and then the title, with a swagger that has grown and grown this season.
Stags have won 13 of their 15 league games and with only seven remaining, they are four points clear at the top of the Midlands Two East South table and seven points inside the promotion zone.
“A 12-10 away win at Wellingborough – would I have taken that? Of course I would have,” said Wales. “We are playing with confidence, self belief and maybe a hint of arrogance, and even though we are not quite 100 per cent, we are still winning.
“We are still top of the league and we have every right to feel like this as success breeds success.”
On a heavy surface, and in rain and sleet, it wasn’t a pretty match in Northamptonshire. Stags started much brighter than the weather, however, and were 5-0 up in ten minutes when Pad Chapman finished off a neat move.
Dan Malem missed the conversion but made up for that by scoring Stags second try after he intercepted the ball from his opposite number and cantered in from 40 yards. It was 12-0 moments later when the same player sent the ball between the posts.
Late in the half, Wellingborough scored a converted try of their own, and the home team reduced the arrears further with a penalty goal after the break.
But that the only time either side added points to the board in the second half. With Doug Bentley and Josh Wearing constantly disrupting the hosts at lineouts, Stags were able to play much of the second period in Wellingborough’s territory. Although Huntingdon rarely threatened, this meant the home side were too deep to attack successfully themselves.
“Our man of the match today was Roger Shakespeare,” said Wales. “He hasn’t been in the squad for a little while and came on as a substitute. He was by far the best player on the park.
Stags head west again on Saturday for an altogether tougher assignment. Full of that confidence and self belief – and maybe a little sprinkling of arrogance – Huntingdon will travel to Leicestershire to take on Lutterworth within sight of the M1.
Results (February 9): Bugbrooke 34-7 Dunstablians, Leighton Buzzard 31-8 Lutterworth, Northampton BBOB 7-19 Biggleswade, Northampton Old Scouts 13-12 Market Harborough, Wellingborough 10-12 Huntingdon & District.
Fixtures (February 16): Biggleswade v Vipers, Leighton Buzzard v Northampton BBOB, Lutterworth v Huntingdon & District, Market Harborough v Dunstablians, Northampton Old Scouts v Wellingborough, Oadby Wyggestonians v Bugbrooke.