Stags 29 Billingham 12

By Old P - November 11 2008
Stags 29 Billingham 12
Panda As the Stags had a week off from their CaNDY League fixtures it was thought that a friendly fixture against Billingham would be a good warm up for the players before their visit to top of the table Tynedale next week.
However for various reasons, some players were not available, which did however allow other players to stake their claim for inclusion in the squad for next week.

The game started, at rather a slow pace, with a considerable number of errors and mishandling from both sides. The first score of the game due to an error by Billingham on the ten minute mark. Where the ball was spilled forward on: their own twenty two metre line. With the referee playing advantage, the ball was moved quickly through the hands by the Stags and full back Hare burst through two would be tacklers to run in under the posts from twenty metres out, converted by Wallis (7-0).

Billingham hit back immediately through some good driving play and two minutes later crossed the Stags line on the left hand side of the field, unconverted (7-5).

The Stags responded by starting to produce good ruck ball and began a move up field predominately by driving though the centres which culminated in a try by flanker Young just to the left of the posts on the 18 minute mark, converted by Wallis (14-5).

The rest of the half was evenly balanced between both teams until the last minute when some quick handling by the Stags backs set (captain) Howe free to score on the left wing, unconverted (19-5).

Billingham started the second half in a much more determined fashion and after a period of sustained pressure, ten minutes after the restart their no8 crashed over from ten metres out, converted (19- 12).

Billingham continued to apply pressure on the Stags and the play continued in the Stags half. On the sixty eight minute mark Stags prop Norris ran onto a short pop pass from his scrum half five metres into his own half (distance confirmed by S Norris and P Wilkinson) and galloped the length of the field to score a very good try on the right wing, unconverted (24-12).

This gave the Stags a further boost and they continued to run at the opposition at every opportunity, but were thwarted by some good defence by Billingham. However there was one more score when Howe was set free as a result of a good loop and pass down the right wing to score wide out on the seventy second minute mark, unconverted (29-12).

The rest of the game was played out in the middle of the park, with little opportunity falling to either side. Whilst this was a good workout for the Stags they will need to concentrate on improving their cohesion and work ethic before next week.

J. Dove [Hogan 58], R. Wood, J. Norris, J. Reay, D. Doyle [B. Lloyd 40], P. Henderson, C. Young, A. Cameron, D. Thomas, P. Wallis, S. Butcher, N. Howe, G. Edwards, J. Cole, A. Hare. Subs not used P. Williamson. Referee: P Finken Durham Society.