Stags are well in hunt for title

Stevenage Town 20 Ruislip 15 Stags inflicted the first defeat of the season on league leaders Ruislip. In-form Town were missing big man Barry Cook in the front row, while Ruislip fielded their full-strength team. Good early breaks from Iain Penny and Gar

Stevenage Town 20 Ruislip 15

Stags inflicted the first defeat of the season on league leaders Ruislip.

In-form Town were missing big man Barry Cook in the front row, while Ruislip fielded their full-strength team.

Good early breaks from Iain Penny and Gary Trewartha failed to produce any reward and Ruislip hit back with three points from their scrum-half's boot.

A Ruislip error allowed speedster Michael Wilson to rip through the defence as he hacked on a loose ball.

It was then down to a foot race between Wilson and his opposite man and with some deft ball control it was the Town man who fell on the ball over the try line. Gareth Lewis added the extra points.

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Town were then awarded a penalty under the posts which Lewis converted.

The second score arrived as Alex Wilcox burst through the Ruislip defence and he slipped the ball back inside to Trewartha who cantered over the line.

The second half showed why Ruislip are sitting at the top of the league as they turned the tables on Town.

Long periods of sustained pressure, coupled with some well-worked backline moves, saw the resolute Stevenage defence finally crack as Ruislip crossed for two scores of their own.

With one conversion slotted and one missed, the scores were level.

The scene was set for the final 10 minutes and a grandstand finish to the exciting and tense game.

With both defences standing up to continuous attack, it required a moment of magic from speed merchant Ian Crompton to break the deadlock.

A powerful run from stand-in prop Tavita Faamausili down the blindside found Stevenage in good position deep in the Ruislip half.

Another blindside move allowed captain Neil Bamber to find the young flyer Crompton on the wing.

With three men still to beat, Crompton showed the presence of mind to chip the ball over the remaining defenders, and climbed for the ball in the in-goal area to win the jump.

This score proved to be the match winning try although with the conversion missed, it resulted in a nail-biting final few minutes as Ruislip threw everything at Town.

The Town defence held firm and sealed a vital win as they try to chase down Ruislip and Welwyn in the race for the title.

A week's break will allow Stags to recharge their batteries and refuel before taking on Vauxhall.

* Datchworth were beaten 27-0 at Haringey in the same division.