Depleted Huntingdon failed to recover from a nightmare start as they suffered a second successive Midlands Division One East defeat last Saturday.

The Stags, whose injury and unavailability problems deprived them of nine players who would ordinarily expect to be on the teamsheet, went down 29-17 at Northamptonshire side Bugbrooke.

Huntingdon had suffered defeat in the last kick of the reverse fixture back in October, but it was early blows which proved damaging when the two teams met again.

Stags found themselves 12 points adrift after just five minutes and without having a touch of the ball!

Those two early tries for Bugbrooke - one of which was successfully converted - left Damien Whales' men with a mountain to climb.

They fashioned a try of their own out of nothing when making their first foray into the home 22. Dan Malem went over in the corner but couldn't convert and Bugbrooke soon responded with another try of their own after punishing a wayward pass and a charged-down kick.

Stags' predicament wasn't helped by the loss of Jack Skidmore, Wayne Bradley and Dan Rushton to injuries in quick succession while they were further weakened when Mauro Almeida collected a yellow card.

Amidst all of that, Bugbrooke squandered one glorious chance to add to their tally, but took another to run in a fourth try and secure a bonus point. They also opened up a 24-5 advantage at the break.

The deficit briefly reduced when Malem successfully chased his own kick to score Stags' second try after a Bugbrooke move broke down but, just as had been the case in the first half, it was followed by another home score.

A penalty try for Stags did limit that damage, but they couldn't do enough to pick up a bonus point on a day when they handed Ben Joss a first XV debut and gave David Barber just a second senior start.

A tough run of January fixtures continues this Saturday when second-placed Derby visit the Racecourse, 2.15pm.