Under 16s 38-19 Biggleswade
Stags got back to winning ways in the East Mids Under 16s Premier League with an efficient win over newly promoted local rivals.
Stags started strongly after a rare defeat against Wellingborough in their last league game, but squandered two early chances to score through poor decision making. Biggleswade capitalised on this when they broke quickly and there was no stopping their lightning winger. Stags evened the score soon after when Will Gould, playing in his favoured number 8 position, took a popped pass from scrum half Chris Turley, and showed a good step and turn of pace to run in from the visitor's 10 metre line. Adam Garrood comfortably slotted the extras to give Stags a 7-5 lead.
A midfield move executed to perfection saw outside centre, Ben McNichol, slice his way through the heart of the Biggleswade defence and he was able to cut inside the covering full back to touch down under the posts making it easy for Garrood to take the lead to 14-5. Any thoughts the strong home support thought that this might be an easy ride were quickly halted when the excellent Biggleswade 10 raced clear and despite a valiant last ditch tackle by the covering Jacob Butcher the visitors reduced the deficit to 14-12. They should have taken the lead when awarded a penalty in front of the posts which would have seen them take a 15-14 lead, but the kick was pulled wide and Stags held on to the slimmest of leads. While the coaches were hoping Stags would hold onto the lead until half time, the 15 players had other thoughts. Firstly, winger Butcher came off his wing and ran a brilliant line taking a disguised pass from Chris Turley, before sprinting clear to the line and almost from restart, Tom Parratt having a good game at 12, made a strong half break before releasing Ben McNichol who raced clear for his second. Garrood converted both and Stags took a 28-12 lead into half time.
Stags were starting to enjoy themselves and a clever kick from Stags 10, Garrood, bounced kindly for winger Jacob Butcher to go over for his second. Stags were rampant with some excellent off loading in the tackle and hooker Jack Starkey at the heart of everything good Stags did. Harvey Dibden was put clear and only a last ditch tackle denied him. From a break down near to the visitor's posts Stags scored again. Will Gunney gathered the loose ball and fed the back line. A perfectly weighted pass from Tom Parratt found Harvey Dibden and there was no catching him this time. Stags led 38-12 and although Biggleswade scored a late consolation to make the final score 38-19, Stags were well worth their win.
Looking to play a more expansive game it was pleasing that 5 out of 6 tries were scored by the wingers and outside centre, testament to the handling that has been worked on by Dave Bowen over the summer. Stags also seemed to maintain their fitness to the end which would suggest Gary Smith's conditioning work is starting to pay off.
Thanks to Matthew Waring for running the kicking tee on with prompt and efficient service and we all wish Matthew and Lewis 'Smudge' Smith well in Wednesday's game for the East Midlands against Leicestershire on Wednesday.
Final thanks to Mark Waring for running the line, Sally King and Denise McNichol for providing a first class meal, the Starkey's for washing the shirts and Andy Ward for taking some excellent action shots.