Stags overcome the old boys
UCS Old Boys 12 Stevenage Town 44 Stevenage Town continued their march towards the league title with another emphatic win at UCS Old Boys. The match was preceded by a minute s silence in memory of Maria Else, the wife of former first team prop Rod Else, w
UCS Old Boys 12 Stevenage Town 44
Stevenage Town continued their march towards the league title with another emphatic win at UCS Old Boys.
The match was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of Maria Else, the wife of former first team prop Rod Else, who passed away earlier in the week.
The result would suggest that this was a comfortable afternoon for the league leaders but the reality was very different.
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The old boys enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the first half but failed to turn this into points as the Stevenage defence stood firm.
The score at half time was 13-5 to the visitors due only to the fact that Stags took their chances whereas the home side did not.
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UCS started brightly but it was Stevenage that posted the first score after only five minutes when prop Barry Cook drove over from close range.
That was the signal for the old boys to mount a series of attacks, which Stevenage managed to defend.
Stevenage had much to thank flanker Iain Penny for as he put in another outstanding performance.
Despite being temporarily reduced to 14 men in the 17th minute when centre Gareth Lewis was sent to the sin bin for failing to roll away from a tackle, UCS were not able to register a score from their sustained pressure.
It was Town who extended their lead in the 23rd minute against the run of play.
The referee played an excellent advantage as second row Adam Amos stole a clearly crooked lineout ball by UCS and winger Ian Crompton was put away, only to be tackled inches from the line, from where flanker Phil Pearson followed up to score.
Before Lewis returned, Stevenage further extended their lead with a penalty from full-back Kyle Lemon.
The home side were finally rewarded for their endeavours when they scored a try in added time at the end of the half when their right wing finished off a fine move.
Stevenage's superior strength and fitness showed in the second half as they ran in five further tries with four of these coming in the final 14 minutes as the old boys were blown away.
The first try of the half was scored by Amos from a penalty move after the UCS number eight had been sent to the sin bin. The try was converted by Lemon.
Then came the final 14 minutes. First number eight Gareth Roberts was allowed to carve his way through the home defence to score. This was converted by Lemon.
Then scrum-half Gareth Wall tidied up a loose ball and Town quickly shipped the ball to Crompton who made ground before slipping the ball inside to replacement centre Alex Willcox.
He in turn fed Penny backing up to finish off the best try of the afternoon. This was a just reward for Penny's endeavours throughout the match.
The home side fought back with five minutes to go when they scored their second good try of the afternoon when their number eight went blind from a scrum and put in their right wing to score.
There was still time for Town to score two more tries firstly from a penalty move when Cook scored his seventh try of the season, an excellent return for a prop forward.
And the scoring was rounded off when Crompton scored under the posts after a great break by hooker Tavita Faamausili, in a move which again included Penny. The final try was converted by Lemon.
This was a performance typical of so many this season when Town defended resolutely and their superior power, fitness and skill especially towards the end of the game overwhelmed the opposition.
Coach Terry Penny said afterwards that his team had been outstanding in open play.
This was undoubtedly true as the old boys had no answer to the quick counter-attacking from Town in the second half.
Stevenage now have a break from the league and play St Albans at home this Sunday (2.30pm ko) in the quarter-finals of the Herts Presidents' Cup.
* Five Stevenage Town players - the captain Neil Bamber, Tavita Faamausili, Adam Amos, Gareth Lewis and Ian Crompton - have been selected in the Herts training squad for the County Championship matches in May.
All five represented the county in last season's competition.