Stags in battle for fourth place
RUGBY UNION Midlands 3 East (South) Huntingdon Stags 22 Leicester Forest 22 STAGS are embroiled in a two-way battle for fourth place with Forest after Saturday s pulsating draw at Hinchingbrooke. In scoring four tries to three, Stags might have shaded a v
Midlands 3 East (South)
Huntingdon Stags 22 Leicester Forest 22
STAGS are embroiled in a two-way battle for fourth place with Forest after Saturday's pulsating draw at Hinchingbrooke.
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In scoring four tries to three, Stags might have shaded a very open match, though the draw was probably a fair result.
Huntingdon had not played for three weeks and showed signs of rustiness - a porous defence and allowed Forest an early score and dropped goal to move 10-0 up in as many minutes.
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Just when it looked like being a tough afternoon for the hosts, Stags came to life and played arguably their best half hour of rugby of the season.
Ball was won from all phases and fluent handling and positive support play rocked Forest back. A sweeping move went right and then left as Damien Whales - orchestrating affairs from midfield - put Doug Bentley in with a long pass.
Soon afterwards Simon Orange broke from midfield with numbers in support and Steven Hill scored his first try for the first team.
Forest then knocked on with the line at their mercy but Stags were dominant and though forest repelled the first wave of attack, the momentum was maintained when ball was retained and Orange was driven over.
Whales converted one of the tries for a 17-10 home lead at half time.
Stags were against the breeze in the second period and Forest, by fair means or foul, succeeded in slowing things down and disrupting Stags' up-tempo and free-running game.
Some Forest pressure brought them a converted try to level the scores and Stags were frustrated when their own spell of sustained pressure resulted only in a penalty to the visitors, allowing them to clear their lines.
When Bentley began arguing with the referee, the inevitable consequence of a yellow card saw Stags suffer a torrid 10 minutes with the seven-man pack going backwards, allowing Forest a try and a 22-17 lead.
It looked curtains for Stags but they gathered themselves for a final effort and good work by the forwards and sure handling made space for Orange to record his fifth try of the season to bring the scores level.
Stags remain in fifth place in the table with 24 points - the same as Forest but with an inferior points difference.
There is a further tough assignment on Saturday against Stewarts and Lloyds but Stags will be encouraged by much of the rugby they played in this match.