Darlington 3 Stags 43

By Old P*** - November 10 2009
Darlington 3 Stags 43
Paul Miller The Stags travelled to Darlington with a much changed team from the week before, due to injuries and unavailabilityís. But they undertook the journey to Blackwell Meadows with high hopes of victory against a Darlington second team who are struggling in the league.
The match began in quite mild dry conditions which was ideally suited to the Stags style of open running play. However things to not begin well with only 6 minutes on the clock, having conceded a number of penalties for minor infringements they were three points down to a well taken penalty by the hosts (3-0).

Try as they might the Stags were unable to string a series of settled plays together and with to many dropped passes and running into contact they looked distinctly out of shape. However the forwards kept winning the ball and on the 15 minute mark they won a scrum some fifteen metres out from the host line and the ball was fed quickly to centre Miller who crashed over the line for the first try, converted by Waites (3-7).

Four minutes later as a result of some good straight running by the forwards winger Pearce was set free down the left wing to run in wide out from 20 metres, unconverted (3-12).

After the restart it became obvious that the hostís heads began to drop as they were consistently pushed back off the ball in the scrums by the much better organised Stags pack. Who then worked the ball into the left hand corner of the field and after a series of forward surges captain Dixon barrelled his way over the line for a try, unconverted (3-17) for what turned out to be the last score of the half.

From the kickoff the Stags began to capitalise on their dominance in the lineouts and scrums to work the ball up field where the ball was fed to replacement centre Henderson who drove over from five metres out, unconverted. (3-23)

The game then seemed to become stagnant for a period of fifteen minutes as both sides succeeded in upsetting the referee and gave away needless penalties. As a result of a penalty on the 21 minute mark the ball was moved by the Stags quickly out to the right wing where Armstrong (a late replacement for Larkin) caught an exceptionally difficult pass to round his opposite number and score wide out on the right which was converted by a outstanding place kick by Wallis (3-30).

10 minutes later the ball was again moved out to Armstrong quickly from a ball won against the head in the scrum and he sprinted around his opposite number from 35 metres out to score under the posts, converted by Wallis (3-37).

The last score of the game came on the 73 minute mark where after some good inter-passing between the forwards and the backs Williamson crossed the line as a result of some very good support play, converted by Wallis (3-43).

Whilst this was another bonus point win for the Stags, they were not at their best and with harder tests to come namely a clash at Brinkburn with Tynedale II next week they know they will have to up their game to compete with the only unbeaten side in the Candy league.

Stags: Greenwell J, Dixon A, (Capt.) (Wood 60) Coates A, Kemp M, Rafferty J, (Jackson G. 35), Young C, Cameron A (Glaister-Smith B.55) Bailey L, Thomas D (Williamson P. 60), Wallis P, Pearce M, Turnbull W, (Henderson P. 40), Miller P, Armstrong T, Waites S. (Southern Z. 60)