Midlands 2E(S) Northampton Old Scouts 20-16 Huntingdon Stags STAGS missed out on another win that was within their grasp as they fell to yet another narrow defeat. In a dogged battle on a surface that saw players sinking more than ankle deep in mud, Stags were always going to face a challenge at Northampton. Stags player-coach Damian Whales feared his team would suffer from their limited training in recent weeks, but they proved him wrong by dominating the early stages. Whales himself jinked his way through a seemingly non-existent gap in the Scouts defence to dot down for the visitors first score of the afternoon. Stags continued the pressure but without being able to cross the chalk were reduced to kicking two further penalties. Scouts notched a penalty goal, and managed to reduce the deficit late in the half with a converted try completely against the run of play, leaving the Stags with a slender 11-10 lead at the break. The surface of the field was deteriorating rapidly in the second spell and forwards frustration saw Scouts handed two yellow cards, and later a red card, against a single yellow for the Stags, as their forwards outshone the much larger Northampton pack. Whales missed six kicks on the day, and they proved costly as Northampton took the lead. Stags hit back with an unconverted try but the last word went to the hosts when they snatched a try with seconds remaining to leave Stags with just a bonus point from a game they could, and should, have won. Whales said: It is disappointing. Bonus points are just that bonuses but at the end of this season our league position will be determined by our wins, not our close losses. Stags face Stockwood Park at the Racecourse on Saturday. N A SINGLE try from Richard Harries was enough to give St Ives II a 5-0 victory over March Bears, their third league win in a row.