Stags party the best yet

Huntingdon head coach Damien Whales.

Huntingdon head coach Damien Whales. - Credit: Archant

Head coach Damien Whales can’t wait to send the best-ever Stags squad into battle in a special season.

Huntingdon, who celebrate their 80th anniversary in October, begin the new Midlands Division One East campaign with a trip to Northampton Old Scouts on Saturday.

And Whales insists he is excited by the prospects of a team boosted by some impressive summer recruits.

Player-coach Duncan Low and prolific try-scorer Reggie Reid have both arrived from higher-level Peterborough Lions.

Matthew Davies-Binge has returned following a brief stint at the same club while Rory Parker is back after travelling. Nick Vallance and Stuart Turner are other arrivals.

Whales said: “There’s no doubt in my mind this is the best squad Stags have ever had.

“We managed to avoid relegation in our first season in this league and were then very comfortable last season.

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“I’m confident we can now progress into the top six as a minimum in a league that doesn’t look as strong as last season due to no teams being relegated into it.

“I’m excited about developing our brand of rugby and I’m very pleased with the players we have recruited.

“We have been very forward-dominated in recent season and, while we will still be strong in that department, we have added pace and experience in the backs.

“We are a team who can score lots of tries and watching us will be an enjoyable spectacle.”

Stags certainly lived up to Whales’ billing by running riot in their final pre-season work-out. They ran in 11 tries when trouncing London North East Division Two side Norwich 73-17 last Saturday.

Reid crossed for a hat-trick with Low, Seth Muggeridge, Tom Morgan, Sammy Johnson, Dan Malem, Jack Skidmore, Roger Shakespeare and JJ Ward also touching down.

Whales added: “The summer has gone very well. Scoring a lot of points is great for confidence and the speed of rugby we’ve played has been great for fitness.”