The off-colour Stags lose 100 per cent record
Hammersmith/Fulham 5 Stevenage Town 5 LEADERS Stevenage Town finally lost their 100 per cent league record at Hammersmith and Fulham but managed to remain unbeaten. Rarely can a team have had so much possession in any game yet failed to win. The hosts cam
Hammersmith/Fulham 5 Stevenage Town 5
LEADERS Stevenage Town finally lost their 100 per cent league record at Hammersmith and Fulham but managed to remain unbeaten.
Rarely can a team have had so much possession in any game yet failed to win.
The hosts came into the game on the back of a defeat to bottom of the table Vauxhall Motors the previous Saturday and it was difficult to believe that this could be the same side by the way they defended.
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They started brightly and were on top for the first 10 minutes, during which they opened the scoring with a good rolling maul before driving over the Stevenage line.
From then on, until the last moments of the game, Hammersmith and Fulham never again looked like threatening the Stevenage line.
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In the intervening 70 minutes, the Stags pack completely dominated proceedings.
The Stevenage front row of Barry Cook, Tavita Faamausili and captain Neil Bamber provided a platform which saw the home side reeling in the set scrums.
Lineout jumpers Iain Penny, Adam Amos and Richard Penny ensured there was a constant supply of lineout ball regardless of who had the throw-in.
From all that possession, the league leaders' sole reply was a try from Faamausili 12 minutes into the second half resulting from a five-metre scrum after Hammersmith and Fulham had carried a kick ahead over their own line.
For Stags, the recycling of the ball from second and subsequent phases was so slow that the home side were effectively able to defend first phase ball.
And miss-moves in midfield all too often resulted in dropped passes or the attacker running into the brick wall of the home defence.
Not once was either winger put into a position to test the home cover and on the few occasions this looked possible, the attack was thwarted either by the taking on of one man too many before trying to release the winger or by a woeful pass.
Both wingers, Kyle Lemon and Ian Crompton, looked to move infield in search of the ball and both had telling runs but these started too far out to cause any real threat.
This was undoubtedly a game that Town could and should have won and afterwards there was disappointment in the camp that they had been unable to convert the possession and pressure into points.
Coach Terry Penny will not want any further repeat of this performance although Stags still have a six-point lead at the top of the table.
Town have this weekend off and then resume their league campaign the following Saturday with a home tie against Hampstead.
* Datchworth appear doomed to the drop in the same division after another defeat, 29-15 at Harpenden.