Stevenage Town 15–18 Ruislip An angry Stevenage coach, Terry Penny described his team s performance as embarrassing and lacking determination as Town crashed to their fourth successive league defeat, having held a 12–0 lead at half time. This performanc

Stevenage Town 15-18 Ruislip

An angry Stevenage coach, Terry Penny described his team's performance as embarrassing and lacking determination as Town crashed to their fourth successive league defeat, having held a 12-0 lead at half time.

This performance followed an all too familiar pattern as Town put up a sterling defensive display and built up a lead only to see this disappear as the floodgates opened as soon as the opposition got on to the scoreboard.

Much of this, it has to be said is of their own doing, as Stevenage repeatedly failed to clear their defensive lines, conceded far too many penalties and were guilty of too many unenforced errors.

On a more positive note, Town know that they can convert these narrow losses into wins and this has to be the focus as they move into the second half of the league season.

Ruislip had the better of the early exchanges as Town defended well and pressurised the visiting backs into a number of errors. Ruislip built on their dominance in the lineout as Stevenage struggled in that department all afternoon.

Yet it was Stevenage that took the lead in the 26th minute from their first venture beyond the Ruislip 22-metre line. Gareth Lewis, playing in the centre, put in a clever cross kick for Ian Crompton to gather and beat the covering wing and full-back to score a fine try in the corner.

Stevenage then had the better of the play until half time. Town opted to kick for position on a couple of occasions, when points on the board may have been a better option and Crompton was denied an almost certain second try when a poor pass to him went to ground.

This was not the first time this season that Town have failed to score due to a poor final pass and again, it proved to be very costly. Number eight Gareth Roberts also came close to scoring, only to be denied by what looked like a deliberate shirt pull as he attempted to follow up a kick ahead.

Stevenage deservedly extended their lead just before half time with a second try for Crompton. This time he kicked ahead between the full-back and wing, who failed to deal with the kick and Crompton followed up to gather and run in the try in the corner. Lewis kicked an excellent conversion as Town led 12-0 at the interval.

Town had a lively start to the second half, but the visitors soon turned this around and gradually took the upper hand. Town continued to work hard in defence and Iain Penny showed what Town had missed during his recent absence from the team.

Although Town struggled to win any lineout possession, they more than held their own in the tight play and made it difficult for Ruislip.

Eventually the pressure told and in the 59th minute, Ruislip created an overlap, from which Parr scored in the corner.

Almost immediately from the kick-off, the visitors drove straight back at the Stevenage defence, which went missing and, from a subsequent ruck near the Town line, giant prop Hattingh scored to bring the visitors back to within two points.

Ruislip continued to attack and looked the more likely to score next, as indeed they did, when Grehan slotted over a penalty after Town were caught offside to give the visitors a one-point advantage.

There remained a couple of twists left in this game as Stevenage fought back to gain a penalty of their own, which Lewis scored to give the lead back to Town, with five minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for Stevenage, and not for the first time this season, they showed their inability to close a game down and conceded a third try from replacement wing Smith to hand the game to Ruislip and leave their coach fuming.

Team: Kyle Lemon (Terry Penny 79 mins), Ian Crompton, Gareth Lewis, Matt Smith, Peter Smith, Michael Wilson, Gary Trewartha (Gareth Wall 65 mins), Barry Cook, Tom Meller, Neil Bamber, Richard Penny, Adam Amos, Iain Penny, Marc Dyer, Gareth Roberts