Stags give Army a fright

PUBLISHED: 13:18 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:27 26 October 2009

RFU National U20 Championship Hertfordshire Stags 14 The Army U20s 18 HERTS Stags produced a battling performance as they narrowly lost to a strong Army U20 side by four points. The Stags, featuring Welwyn forward Tom Jankowski and Oaklands College s Tom

RFU National U20 Championship Hertfordshire Stags 14 The Army U20s 18

HERTS Stags produced a battling performance as they narrowly lost to a strong Army U20 side by four points.

The Stags, featuring Welwyn forward Tom Jankowski and Oaklands College's Tom Johnson, gave by far their best showing of the RFU National U20 Championship at Hertford on Sunday, giving the Army a real fright.

Having beaten Sussex and drawn with Hampshire, the Army arrived at Hoe Lane in confident mood.

But the Stags showed great resilience after a shaky start, tackling with great gusto and taking the Army on in loose play.

However, it was in the set-pieces that the Army won the game.

They were far superior in the lineout, where the hosts struggled to win any ball, and although the Stags competed in the scrums, the Army won more quality ball.

Yet the Stags scored two good tries in the second half and keep the game in the balance to the end.

The Army went ahead almost straight from the kick-off when the Stags conceded a penalty and full back Chris Ramwell added the points.

It soon became clear that the home side were struggling in the lineout as the Army took two against the throw.

Strong tacking got Herts gradually back into the game, although they gave away too many penalties at the breakdown which resulted in Carling Colfer receiving a yellow card midway through the half.

Slowly but surely the Stags gained more ground through some good back play and as the half was drawing to a close it looked as though they were back in the game.

Army scrum-half Dave Duffus then made a break from his own half, kicked ahead, and Nick Clarke scrambled over in the corner for an unconverted try.

The Stags were unlucky not to get an immediate reply, when full back Henry Robinson and wing Kyle Lemon combined to take play to the Army line.

The Army conceded a penalty and the Stags ran the ball to cross the line, only to be brought back for a foot in touch.

A highly competitive first half ended with the Army eight points ahead.

The second half could not have started better for the Stags.

They won good ruck ball in the second minute, kicked ahead and Lemon grabbed the bouncing ball to score under the posts.

Zak Vinnicombe added the conversion and the Stag were only one point behind.

Unfortunately, they then handed the initiative back to the visitors by knocking on at the restart and the Army were soon deep in home territory.

The Stags conceded a five metre penalty and Tom Appleyard drove over to give the Army a six-point lead after six minutes of the half.

Not to be outdone, four minutes later the Stags took the lead. They ran the ball out of defence, kicked ahead and won the loose ball on the Army 22.

Flanker Miles Dempsey scored near the posts to give Vinnicombe an easy conversion.

The one-point margin remained for the next 20 minutes until, after a spell of pressure during which the Stags conceded more penalties around the breakdown, Tom Chennell finally crossed the line to take back the lead for the Army.

The Army upped the pressure towards the end of the game, but the home defence held firm and Stags narrowly lost 18-14.


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