Stags triumph

Tabard 10 Stevenage Town 22 Stags have written another illustrious chapter in the club s history by reaching the Herts Presidents Cup final. They beat a Tabard side who could not match the power, pace and passion of their fitter, faster and technically s

Tabard 10 Stevenage Town 22

Stags have written another illustrious chapter in the club's history by reaching the Herts Presidents' Cup final.

They beat a Tabard side who could not match the power, pace and passion of their fitter, faster and technically superior opponents despite being two leagues higher.

Stags will now meet National League Hertford, who were 22-15 winners at Bishop's Stortford, in the final.

This will be played a week on Sunday (April 2) at Croxley Green (3.30pm ko).

Tabard, 11-times winners of the cup, kicked off and for the next 12 minutes the ball did not come out of their half.

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Michael Wilson took the game to Tabard running straight at the defence and being tackled into touch only yards short of the try line.

Within minutes Ian Crompton followed his example on the other wing only to be denied in a similar fashion.

Both defences were giving little away and it was rather against the run of play that Tabard exerted some forward pressure and took the lead with a penalty after 26 minutes.

Buoyed by vocal travelling support, Stags continued to take the game to their opponents and within four minutes went ahead with a try from Alex Willcox after some good lines of running and fast hands in the backs.

Tabard did all they could to keep Stags at bay and received a yellow card for off-the-ball obstruction. A tight half ended with Stags up 5-3.

After the opening skirmishes, Stags' backs again combined well with fast hands with Alex Willcox putting Gareth Lewis through to score their second try, that he also converted, after 15 minutes.

Tabard continued to exert pressure from their forwards, using their only weapon, the driving maul.

It was from such a move following a lineout that Tabard drove over the line to score their only, if slightly fortunate, try of the game as the ball appeared to be dropped.

This was converted to give Tabard hope but the Stags defensive wall stood firm.

After an exchange of penalties, the frustration began to tell with Tabard being penalised twice for dissent.

The Stags back row of captain Marc Dyer, Iain Penny and Gareth Roberts were everywhere and managed to turn the ball over several times.

It was from one such tackle, with a minute of normal time to go, that Stags set off in their own half with forwards and backs combining well before Lewis made an excellent pick up and outran the cover defence to increase the lead.

The Stevenage support were still celebrating when Tabard lost their own lineout and number eight Roberts gathered the ball and set off for the killer try.

He beat the immediate defence and then ran 60 yards to outpace the remainder of the defence, including a replacement with fresh legs, to score the fourth try to complete the scoring.

The Stags passion for the fight was exemplified by Barry Cook, who despite receiving a large gash to his head in a collision, insisted on being patched up so that he could finish the game.

Proud club coach Terry Penny said: "It would be hard to single out individuals in this total team performance; each and everyone tackling well above their weight."

* Their final will follow the final of the Herts Presidents' Trophy. The game between Old Ashmoleans and Hemel Hempstead will start at midday.