Successful start to 2016 as Stags receive a late let-off

Dan Malem scored two tries as Huntingdon were beaten at Bugbrooke.

Dan Malem scored two tries as Huntingdon were beaten at Bugbrooke. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon came from behind three times and then survived a late scare to make a successful start to 2016 last Saturday.

Stags claimed a 28-26 triumph at Paviors in the tightest of Midlands Division One East tussles which came complete with a twist worthy of Agatha Christie.

They look set to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when conceding a late penalty on their own 22 and in front of the posts, but they breathed a sigh of relief as the kick was rushed and drifted wide.

Stags had earlier fallen behind to a converted try following an incisive Paviors passing move, but Dan Malem restored parity by crossing the line and adding the extras.

Near-constant pressure from the hosts reaped reward on the stroke of half-time, but a seven-point deficit was no disgrace for Stags.

It was soon non-existent as Wayne Bradley exploited a gap in the Paviors defence to power over early in the second half.

Malem’s boot was again flawless and the scoreline was level again although Paviors quickly changed that by hitting the front for a third time.

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But, predictably, Stags came up with a fine response as Malem dashed in under the posts for his second try before following up with his third successful conversion.

And Huntingdon then eased into the ascendancy courtesy of the best try of the game. Malem, Billy Bates and Tom Morgan were all involved in a slick passing move rounded off by Richard North.

Malem again obliged with the boot and Stags found themselves in possession of a seven-point advantage.

It was rapidly reduced to two as a charged-down kick led to a fourth Paviors try before they fluffed their golden chance to go back ahead.

Stags saw out the remaining couple of minutes to clinch a fifth victory in six games and retain fifth place in the standings.

They host table-toppers Bedford Athletic at The Racecourse this Saturday (2.15pm).