During the games early exchanges it was clear that the West pack had the upper hand with hooker Dixon regularly taking strikes against the head and the impressive Hogan and improving Hadwin dominating at the set piece. On 7 minutes the Stags forwards released the ball whilst going forward allowing the backs to take the ball on the front foot rather than being static. The influential Wallis spotting a gap behind the DMP three quarters chipped (for the record officially the highest chip ever) ahead he collected his own kick and evading a tackle touch down under the post, Southern adding the extras. 7-0
West continued to pressure Mowden but it took time to grind there defence down. In fact it was another chip from Wallis on 20 minutes (this time a more regulation height) that allowed the Stags to add to their tally. This time Southern benefitting with an easy collection and run in. Zac failing to convert his own try 12-0.
Wests second score seemed to bring DMP to life and they had a sustained period of pressure on the West line. However, despite having Dixon being sin binned, it appeared for nearly fighting, the remaining 14 held firm and Mowden failed to turn 10 minutes pressure into a return. West clearing their lines.
With Henderson now throwing in at the line this element of play was running more efficiently than normal and West began to slowly move out of there own half. Continued pressure on the DMP backline resulted in spilled ball and with Hodgson the first to react he was able to collect the ball and run in unopposed from 50 metres. Southern adding the simple conversion. 19-0.
After a series of good phases Mowden looked like scoring there first try before the break but an excellent cover tackle from Mallison prevented the DMP winger from making the corner.
Just before half time a worrying injury to the newly introduced Mowden hooker brought an early close to play. Thankfully the injury was less serious than first feared and the hooker eventually was able to walk off. Thanks to Gez for “running” across from the firsts game to ensure the Mowden players safety.
At half time West made several changes, Hogan for Forest, Barker for Myers and Youll for Hodgson.
The second half saw Mowden play with more determination and immediately from the restart scored there first try of the afternoon when there scrum half darted over from close range after several forward drives. 19-5 Wests response equally immediate with Mallinson just touching the ball down in the corner, conversion missed. 24-5.
The game then went through a quite phase with little happening until West skipper Tighe turned back the clock with a trademark show and go from almost half way to run in under the posts. Southern adding the extra points, 31-5. From the restart Myers collected the ball and made an excellent break through the middle of the Mowden defence and unlike many a forward had the presence of mind to draw the last defender to allow Youll to run in a long 20m dash. Try converted by Southern 38-5.
With Young putting in an excellent shift despite suffering from man flu all week he was allowed a breather being replaced by vet Andy Palmer with 20 minutes to go. West should now have been in control of the game but it was a determined Mowden who now applied pressure to the West defence. However, excellent anticipation allowed Mossy to intercept and promising Mowden attack and run in from a full 60m. A run which included several outrageous dummies (watch out GF), Moss converting his own try 45-5.
With the game lost it would have been easy for Mowden to now lie down but this was not the case. They continued to play with good spirit and scored two quick tries late in the game bringing the score line to 45-19 with a few minutes of play remaining and a potential 4 try bonus point on offer for Mowden. However, it was West who scored the final try of the game through some excellent running from the backs from deep inside there own half, Mallinson finishing off in the corner and Southern converting. Final score 52-19.
Despite a convincing victory, over a much changed Mowden XV, the Stags still have much room for improvement. As team the need to concentrate for a full 80 minutes and to stop allowing teams in for “soft tries” is a recurring problem which has already changed results this season and will continue to prove critical against stronger opposition.
Southern, Mallinson, Hodgson (Youll 40), Moss, Tyers, Wallis, Tighe, Hogan (Forrest 40), Dixon, Hadwin, Robson, Atkins, Young (Palmer 60), Barker (Myers 40), Henderson.