Stags rocked by points deduction

HUNTINGDON Stags difficult season has received a further setback with the news that the club have been deducted eight points for player registration errors. The penalty leaves Stags seven points from safety at the bottom of the Midlands Two East (South)

HUNTINGDON Stags' difficult season has received a further setback with the news that the club have been deducted eight points for player registration errors.

The penalty leaves Stags seven points from safety at the bottom of the Midlands Two East (South) division and in danger of relegation at the end of the season.

The punishment follows an administrative error in the registration of two prospective players at the beginning of the season. Stags completed the online registration procedure for the move of Adam Peel and Samuel Peel from St Neots, but failed to obtain the players' signatures on the registration documents or proof of posting the paperwork to St Neots.

The players attended only one training session, never played for Stags, and have since returned to St Neots.

Stags have lodged an appeal with the RFU against the decision, and are awaiting a date for the hearing to be held. In the meantime, the team on the pitch face an uphill struggle to avoid relegation.

Chairman John Doonan said: "It was a mistake and an error in our process. We didn't follow the process to the letter of the law, but we feel that it is a harsh penalty.

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"We did not gain anything from the players - they came to train with us at the beginning of the season, but have never appeared in a match for us.

"The precedents suggest that we would have received a lighter penalty had they in fact played for the team.

"Clearly the deduction makes the season much harder for us, and the players are disappointed with the situation, but there remains a great spirit at the club, as the team showed in winning on Saturday.

"We hope the decision will be overturned, but regardless of the outcome, we are going to make a really good fight of the rest of the season."

Stags put the off-pitch distractions out of their mind on Saturday to record a vital win over Northampton BBOB.

The early loss of John Rowney to a knee injury didn't help Stags' cause, but Dave Alvis stepped in and Elliot Baldwin soon gave Stags a 3-0 lead.

Strong running through the centre from Ali Dunsdon and Neil Welsh unsettled the home side, but indiscipline saw Stags lose two men to the bin before half-time and BBOB drew level.

Stags pressurised after half-time and James Thorp crossed the line for the afternoon's first try, unconverted, to give Stags an 8-3 lead. James Pinkney's became the third Stag for a spell in the bin as BBOB scored a penalty for 8-6.

Stags stretched their lead when Heath Crawford skipped past two tackles and cantered the remaining 50 metres for Stags' second unconverted try of the day.

BBOB pushed hard to tie the scores, but Stags claimed the clincher, recycling the ball for James Thorp to score his second try of the day, converted by Baldwin.

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