Huntingdon allowed a valuable Midlands Division East victory to slip through their grasp last Saturday – literally.

Huntingdon players stop an Old Scouts man in his tracks. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHYHuntingdon players stop an Old Scouts man in his tracks. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY

Head coach Damien Whales admitted a failure to convert excellent opportunities into points proved costly in a 17-10 reverse at the hands of fellow strugglers Northampton Old Scouts at The Racecourse.

Stags were the dominant side for much of the contest, but they were left with only a bonus point to show for their efforts after a number of handling errors proved costly when in threatening positions.

"Possession and territory doesn't win games of rugby," said Whales. "It all comes down to putting points on the board.

"We performed better, the attitudes were better and our energy levels were better, but we didn't win the game as we didn't take our chances.

Things start to get shirty as Stags are beaten by Northampton Old Scouts. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHYThings start to get shirty as Stags are beaten by Northampton Old Scouts. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY

"We did lots of things correctly, but catching the ball and scoring was the thing we didn't get right.

"Our completion rate needs to be considerably higher than it was on Saturday. It's a bitter disappointment not to beat Old Scouts at home."

Stags fell behind to a well worked Old Scouts try in the first half which was followed by a simple conversion from in front of the posts.

Jack Skidmore reduced the arrears with a penalty when providing the hosts' only points of the opening period.

Their deficit grew again in the second period when Old Scouts were gifted an interception try - again converted - before also sending over a penalty.

Whales' men rallied as Roger Shakespeare went over in the corner following some powerful work from the forwards and Skidmore added the extras in fine style.

The visitors then had two players yellow-carded during a frenetic finale, but Stags couldn't press home their numerical advantage as they slipped to a sixth defeat in their opening 10 games of the campaign.

"I've got mixed emotions about the season so far," added Whales, whose side sit 10th in the 14-team Midlands Division One East. They are five points above the bottom two.

"I'm disappointed that we are featuring at the bottom end of the table, but the reality is that we have lost senior players, been hit by injuries and are introducing youngsters to senior rugby.

"We don't quite have the quality and strength at the moment, and we're really looking for guys to start stepping up."

Huntingdon return to action with a trip to Old Northamptonians on November 25.