HUNTINGDON Stags could not get their 2010-11 season off to the perfect start they craved as they fell to a heavy defeat to a strong Peterborough side.

Midlands 2 East

Peterborough Lions 34-6 Huntingdon Stags

HUNTINGDON Stags could not get their 2010-11 season off to the perfect start they craved as they fell to a heavy defeat to a strong Peterborough side.

Stags held their own against the Lions for long periods the game, but the home side's experience eventually told as they added late points to boost their winning margin.

However, player-coach Damian Whales said that there had been positives from the game despite the final score flattering the Lions.

He said: "It would have nice to start the campaign with an away win, but we showed that we have the right mixture of youth and experience in our squad to produce some exciting rugby this season."

Skipper James Thorp pointed to his team's showing in the scrum and lineout - where the retired James Pinkney had left a gap - as being especially encouraging.

"We had worries going into the season about our scrum and lineout, but a good week of training paid off and we clearly won the battle of the scrum and lineout. It's a huge confidence-booster against a much larger opposition forward pack," said Thorp.

Stags kept the match tight in the opening exchanges, forcing the Lions to drop for goal to take a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes. The visitors were boosted when debutant Steven Chantler out-scrummaged former Stag Adam Lucia, forcing his withdrawal from the match after just 11 minutes.

Stags levelled with a penalty, before two swift Lions tries gave them the upper hand, and a second Stags penalty made in 15-6 at the break.

The visitors' concentration lapsed in the early stages of the second period, allowing Peterborough to add another two tries, and ending Stags' hopes of leaving with a bonus point. A final try 10 minutes from the end brought the score to 34-6.

N Stags host Towcestrians at the Racecourse on Saturday to kick off the club's 80th anniversary season at home.