Stags struggle against league leaders

STUFFED Stags were still feeling the effects of a festive hangover on Saturday as they were run ragged on their way to defeat at league leaders Towcestrians.

STUFFED Stags were still feeling the effects of a festive hangover on Saturday as they were run ragged on their way to defeat at league leaders Towcestrians.

The hosts’ seven tries against two tells the story and, on a mud-soaked surface, conceding four tries in a mad final 15-minute spell in the first half always left the visitors with a mountain to climb.

Stags player-coach Damian Whales, who missed the game with a tight hamstring, admitted: “Our guys may have had a bit too good a Christmas and, although we started well in each half, we ran out of steam late on.

“Tows were definitely the better team on the park overall, but the game was far too high-scoring given the playing conditions.


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“If we had held on until half-time, playing up the hill, the game would have taken on a different context and we would have been up for a rare away win at Tows.”

Huntingdon picked a forward pack that included six genuine loose forwards and were duly rewarded early on with good phases of territory and possession.

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But after holding their own for 25 minutes and with nothing on either scoresheet, the floodgates opened and four tries before the break – three of which were converted – handed the home side a 26-0 half-time lead.

The Stags midfield, who provided punch but had struggled to break the Tows line throughout, were finally rewarded when Ali Dunsdon crashed over under the posts on the 50-minute mark, with Matt Durrant converting.

And Stags were given a glimmer of hope when Ben Strangeways scored their second try, this time unconverted, going over from a quick tap penalty that the Stags pack had earned after sustained pressure in Tows territory.

But three late tries by the Towcester outside backs sealed a deserved 43-12 victory.

Stags have now gone seven games away from home without a win, but are unbeaten in three at the Racecourse.

This weekend, they host third-placed Bugbrooke, looking to avenge a 25-18 defeat when the sides met in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

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