Stags’ 15-year winless run ends with Huntingdon victory over Kettering

Huntingdon Stags v Ilkeston,

Huntingdon Stags v Ilkeston, - Credit: Archant

The last time Huntingdon were able to toast a victory over long-standing rivals Kettering, Tony Blair was in power, Big Brother was new to our TV screens and we were boldly entering a new Millennium.

But a 15-year wait for another success against their Midlands Division One East foes is now over thanks to a sparkling Stags performance on Saturday.

And the exciting 27-18 triumph at the Racecourse left them closing in on a highest-ever points tally at this level and also eyeing up a best-ever league finish. No wonder joint coach Paul Baynes was waxing lyrical in the aftermath.

He said: “It is a really good day and a really great feeling to beat a team who have played at a higher level for the first time in 15 years.

“We have now beaten all teams in the division except for the top two and we now need to ensure we finish the season on a real high in our final three games.

“Two of those are at home to teams below us in the table and we can hopefully stay on course for the club’s highest-ever finish.”

The sides twice traded penalties in the opening period with the boot of Daniel Malem in fine working order against the wind for the Stags.

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And he was on hand to guide over the conversion after Steven Chantler had powered over for the opening try.

A second score followed as Tad Chapman gathered a loose ball and held off the attentions of three defenders to scamper over with Malem again obliging for the extras.

And Huntingdon continued in the same vein after the break as Wayne Bradley broke a tackle on the 22 and galloped in for another try. Unsurprisingly Malem was spot-on with his conversion attempt.

His boot continued to be a valuable weapon with a series of lengthy clearances as Huntingdon doggedly defended their territory – something they managed even when Richard North and Chantler were both sin-binned.

The visitors did eventually grab a late consolation, but this was undoubtedly Huntingdon’s long overdue day and they’re back at the Racecourse this Saturday when Mansfield visit.