Stags 24 Horden IIs 14

By Dave Picken - May 4 2009
Stags 24 Horden IIs 14 The Stags retained the Pyman Cup after eventually overcoming a determined Horden IIs in a game of contrasting styles. In the end pace and youth won out - but the game was never resolved until the last quarter.

The Stags were missing regulars Phil Henderson and Phil Wallis through holidays, while skipper Neil Howe cried off with an injury.

In came Andy Robson in the second row and Andrew Hare on the wing. The Saturday afternoon kick off, in bright sunshine, provided a big crowd who witnessed a lighting start with Horden leading 8-7 after just five minutes and two players already in the sin-bin.

The Stags score came from Simon Cavey, using his experience to ride two tackles as he powered for the line. Stu Waites scored the conversion with Horden replying with an unconverted try..

By this time Stags flanker Steve Smart and a Horden player were taking an enforced rest after an early attempt to assert authority was penalised by referee Dave Sawyer.

The game did settle down with the two different styles of play at work. Hordenís bigger more experienced pack were winning a lot of possession, but stern defence kept them at bay while the Stagís pacy backline looked dangerous every time they got the ball.

The cup holders had to wait until the half hour mark before their cutting edge took them clear. It was eighteen year old fullback Scott Jordan who made the break, taking ball from centre Greg Edwards some 40 metres out, before racing through the cover to go in under the posts.

The Stags were leading 17-8 at the break after a superb penalty into the wind from Stu Waites. With the prospect of the wind and the slope at their backs in the second half they looked favourites but Horden were not prepared to lie down. They got the next score, after some determined work by the forwards forced a penalty quickly followed by a second to make it 17-14.

Horden were continuing to have more possession, but it was the youngest player on the pitch who sealed it for the Stags. Scott Jordan again showed the class which has attracted Newcastle Falcons Academy and Durham School.

This time he raced clear from almost the half way line to outpace the Horden defence and set up an easy conversion.

Horden toiled away bit rarely threatened the West line, even when the Stags went down to 14 men after second row Andy Robson was rightly sin-binned for a late challenge. It led to a major dust up, after Darren Thomas held on to the ball, and several players were fortunate to find referee Dave Sawyer in a surprisingly benign mood.

The game was just about as pretty as Darren Thomasís badly bruised face. Howver, it was another trophy for the Stags, after winning the highly competitive CaNDy league where Hordenís second string came third in their first time in the league.

Horden: Craig Jones, Adam Maddison, Carl Oliver, Karl Hartley, Chris Purvis,Paul Priestley, Neil Hartley, Paul Johnson, Gavin Davidson, Graeme Holloway, Neil Harrison, Paul Armstrong, Kevin McCourt, Dan Greener, Craig Hall. Reps: Adam Rollins, Lee Brooksbank, Craig Gilmour, David Mason, Dean Armstrong, Connor Jones.

Stags: Scott Jordan, Andrew Hare, Greg Edwards, Simon Cavey, Scott Butcher, Stu Waites, Paul Williamson, Jon Greenwell, Ross Wood, Adam Coates, Andy Robson, Ben Lloyd, Steve Smart, Alex Barker, Andy Cameron. Reps: Jon Norris, Jordan Baggs, Darren Thomas, Gavin Robinson, Luke Mallinson.