Stags take spoils
Stevenage Town 15 Datchworth 6 Stevenage Town claimed the bragging rights in a muddy local derby at North Road. Stags remain in contention for promotion to London Two North after defeating their neighbours. Conditions were always going to be poor due to t
Stevenage Town 15 Datchworth 6
Stevenage Town claimed the bragging rights in a muddy local derby at North Road.
Stags remain in contention for promotion to London Two North after defeating their neighbours.
Conditions were always going to be poor due to the amount of rain and as the game progressed, the pitch quickly became a mudbath on which both sides tried to play open rugby.
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In the first few minutes, Datchworth used the strong breeze and forced Stags to concede a penalty which centre Richie Howells converted.
Stags responded with a series of drives from the forwards downfield only for some poor passing and lead catching within the backs stopping good try opportunities.
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Eventually Stags managed to create some space for winger Michael Wilson to collect a kick through from Gareth Lewis and then sell two outrageous dummies to touch down. Lewis failed with the conversion though.
Town only had themselves to blame for not increasing the lead in the half.
Their forwards won plenty of good ball, especially at the scrummage where they had Datchworth under immense pressure, but unforced errors with poor kicking and poor passing disrupted the flow of the game.
This gave Datchworth another chance with another penalty from Howells as they capitalised on the errors to lead by a point at half time.
Town started the second half with the slight breeze in their favour and with the pitch conditions worsening, a kicking game was put into action with the forwards also keeping it tight.
Datchworth conceded a penalty close to the posts which Lewis failed to convert.
Eventually marauding number eight Gareth Roberts found some space on the touchline and powered up the line. He outstripped a number of Datchworth players before scoring close to the posts. Once again Lewis failed with an easy conversion.
Datchworth never gave up and occasionally gave the Stags defence further work without ever breaking through.
Stags' last try of the game came after a poor clearance kick from Datchworth's fly-half was fielded by scrum-half Ian Crompton.
He handed off three defenders before releasing Peter Smith who was tackled just outside the 22.
The ball was quickly recycled out to Lewis via Alex Willcox.
Lewis' diagonal kick landed out wide in a mud pool and the first there was second row Adam Amos whose brilliant pass to Wilson allowed him to outsprint the full-back to score in the corner. Lewis was unable to convert.
Datchworth raised their game for one more push but were unable to break through Town's magnificent defence line.
Stags travel to Enfield Ignatians this Saturday and hope to avenge a disappointing loss at home.
The following weekend sees Datchworth host Stags this time in the quarter-finals of the Herts Presidents' Cup.