Battling Stags defeat Rhinos

PUBLISHED: 10:15 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 May 2010

THE winning habit continued for Stevenage Town as a dogged performance earned victory at an uncompromising Haringey side. Stags won 18-14 at the Rhinos to build on their cup win over Welwyn. And they will need to continue to display this level of tenacity

THE winning habit continued for Stevenage Town as a dogged performance earned victory at an uncompromising Haringey side.

Stags won 18-14 at the Rhinos to build on their cup win over Welwyn.

And they will need to continue to display this level of tenacity if they are to win the dogfight that is developing in the lower half of London Three North West, where five points currently separate six clubs.

After a strong start, Gareth Lewis kicked a penalty to give them an early lead.

Shortly afterwards, Town had a clearance kick charged down and the home side ran in a try unopposed. Haringey added to the score with a penalty.

Town regrouped, and after some excellent handling in the backs, Ian Crompton was given the opportunity to hug the touchline and squeeze into the corner for a try.

Within a minute, Town again created space and put Crompton away again to show a clean pair of heels to the defenders.

This time Lewis converted to give them a seven-point lead at half time. Early in the new half, Lewis added a penalty to give Town a 10-point advantage.

Haringey did not give in easily and this was reflected by two of their players being shown yellow cards during a second half of attrition. Town dug deep and held the rolling mauls to deny two try-scoring opportunities.

Despite being on the wrong end of several late challenges, and being pinned in their own 22 for long periods, Town kept their cool - even when two penalties brought the home side to within four points.

All the team played their part, particularly in defence, with some massive performances from Barry Cook in the scrum, Jan van Staden making his debut at number eight and a tenacious example set by skipper Gary Trewartha.

Town host Enfield Ignations on Saturday and then Tring in the next round of the Herts Presidents' Cup the following Sunday. Both games kick-off at 2pm.

Hitchin made it six defeats from 11 league games this season as they were beaten 20-14 at Harrow.

The Hedgehogs opened the scoring through full-back Matthew Hawtin following a searing break from man of the match Jeremy Heath, playing at fly-half.

Despite their impressive start, Hitchin were slowly worn down by an experienced Harrow pack.

Harrow played to their strengths using their weight advantage in the forwards and playing the game at their pace.

Time and again Harrow rolled the ball up the field through the forwards eventually capitalising on their field position with a penalty after quarter of an hour.

They followed this up with two converted tries scored in similar fashion and a further penalty to lead the game by 13 points at half time.

Hitchin scored the only points of the second half following a try from Marcus Moore, secured by a number of driving mauls up the middle of the field. Adam Shaw added his second conversion of the game.

Despite their best efforts, Hitchin were unable to snatch a last-gasp victory when the ball was dropped over the Harrow line.

Harrow's defence had to be commended as Hitchin's backs looked to be finding some long-awaited confidence towards the end of the game, marshalled excellently by Heath.

Captain Aidan Barnett said: "Too many unforced errors cost us a much-needed victory.

"The non-availability of some of the more senior players within the club has taken its toll on our season so far.

"We are a better side than our recent results suggest and we need some of those players to step up and help get us back on track."

Hitchin face Old Verulamians at home this Saturday.

Datchworth maintained their promotion charge as they beat West London 15-0.

All the points came from Andrew Tarsey, one of their outstanding players of the season.

Head coach Mark Pittaccio said: "It wasn't our best performance but the win was the most important thing."

The versatile Tarsey stepped in at scrum-half and playing up the hill in the first half, his boot opened the scoring for Datchworth with a penalty.

This was the only score of a scrappy first half but with the slope now in their favour, they upped the intensity at the beginning of the second period.

They were rewarded with the first try of the game. Quick ball from a lineout went wide and found Henry Mountain coming off his wing to set the ruck up in midfield.

Brian Hickey picked and went and then off-loaded to Tarsey. The teenager then sold the dummy and cantered between the sticks for the try. Tarsey converted his own score.

The points were finally sealed with a second Datchworth try.

Tarsey, now playing in his more familiar position at flanker, charged down the fly-half's kick and collected the ball to touchdown for the unconverted try.

Datchworth's solid defence - four clean sheets and fewer points conceded than any other team in the league this season - will be tested on Saturday as they travel to leaders London New Zealand.

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