STAGS claimed their first points of the new campaign with a draw at the Racecourse on Saturday - but let victory slip through their fingers.

Midlands Two East

Huntingdon Stags 17-17 Towcestrians

STAGS claimed their first points of the new campaign with a draw at the Racecourse on Saturday - but it could have been more.

Michael Webb and Tom McCreadie both went over the whitewash, while Damian Whales converted both tries and also kicked a penalty.

Stags captain James Thorp admitted he was frustrated his side surrendered a 17-10 lead to allow the opposition back into the game.

He said: "There was a real sense of frustration all round afterwards and we certainly had our chances to win the game.

"We need to reach a level where we're playing consistently for 80 minutes, and that is a level we haven't quite reached yet.

"But, on reflection, there were also plenty of positives to take from it. We had a young side out competing against a team who thumped us on their way to finishing third last year - and we've just got a draw against them."

Towcestrians took a 7-0 lead on three minutes when their centre waltzed through to score a converted try under the posts.

But the home pack soon exploited some weak fringe defence, which allowed number eight Webb to crash over for the Stags' first try of the campaign, Whales converting to make it 7-7.

A 50-yard burst from skipper Thorp allowed McCreadie to run over a second converted try, before the visitors kicked a penalty.

Whales kicked one for Stags in a stop-start half to make it 17-10, but pressure from Towcestrians late on saw Stags prop Elliott Baldwin sin-binned for continued infringements at the breakdown.

The visitors took advantage to touch down in the corner and convert to level the scores.

Stags are without a fixture on Saturday and are back in Midlands Two East action at Bugbrooke next weekend.

"We are targeting Bugbrooke in two weeks as our first win of the season," said Thorp.

"Our fitness levels are getting better, but we need to improve. A fortnight of hard work and three intensive fitness sessions now awaits us, before some fine tuning for the Bugbrooke game."