First Team Match Reports
Match Reports 2021-2022 Season - First XV
Newton Abbot RFC 1st XV 43 Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 22
In between Storms Eunice and Franklin this weekend The Stags managed to play a game of rugby albeit they were blown away by an organised Newton Abbot side.
The Stags appeared to be still on the bus in the first 25 minutes as they found themselves 15 – 0 down after Newton ran in three unconverted tries despite The Stags have around 60% possession and 70% territory.
It took some quick thinking from Back Row, Ryan Beard, who took a quick tap penalty which caught Newton by surprise. Newton were on the backfoot from this and when Beard was brought down short of the line, the ball was quickly recycled out to second row Tom Wall who scored the Stags first try of the game. 15-5.
The Stags continued in vain for the remainder of the first half but several handling errors, turn over balls and a solid defence didn’t allow them to cross the white wash before half time despite being dominant in the Scrums.
Newton managed to secure the try Bonus point shortly into the second half as the opened up The Stags defence and highlighted there weakness in the centre field area. 22-5
With the game beginning to slip away, the Stags began to settle and regain that possession they had in the first half. This time they kept hold of the ball and Will Hopkins made a blistering run into Newtons half then into there 22 area to off load to the supporting Scott Havercroft who scored out wide. 22 – 10.
The Stags began to play their usual expansive game after the second try but poor tackling gave Newton chance to put more points on the score board by adding two further tries and converted both with 20 minutes remaining. 36-10.
Changes were made and Ash Cutter resumed his position at No 8 and made an instant impact. His ball carrying has been exceptional all season and as he gathered the ball from the base of a scrum only 8m out he powered through to score. Scott Havercroft converted 36-17.
With the game coming to a close, Scott Havercroft sealed the Try Bonus point for The Stags with 2 minutes to go but The Newton flyhalf scored a neat solo try at the death to close the game 43 – 22.
Credit must go to Ross McKechan who put his body on the line all game with several knocks earlier on in the game and also to James Havercroft who was a nuisance all game and tackled anything that came his way.
A hard defeat to take on the road but we go again in two weeks at home to Paignton on the 5th March. Also this is the Sponsors and Old Boys Reunion day so hope to see you all there.
The 2nd XV are also home that week to Cheddar Valley.
Wiveliscombe 1st XV 13 Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 28
The Stags took to the M5 then West a fraction this Saturday and found themselves lost in a place called Wiveliscombe who ironically have a decent rugby team, so we descended on the club house and called a game, and what a game it turned out to be.
A couple of lates changes due to the dreaded COVID and injuries meant that Ed Lewis stepped in at front row and Lewis Dodge sat on the bench to support Ed when he was ready to leave the field of play.
The Stags started with the wind, and the slope of the pitch, to there advantage in the first half and seeking to inflict a high score line knowing of old how the home side can turn the table. The stags kept Wivvy in there half for the first 10 minutes but a couple bad decisions allowed Wivvy to gain territory back up the slope albeit it wasn’t for long.
Tim Piper got the first points of the game to take the lead 0-3 after 15 minutes.
The pack of Stags set a decent platform for the back line to have quick ball and in one phase the ball was whipped out by Sam Lewis, to Piper, then through the centre partnership of Holder & Fear and winger Beard who was supported by Full back Scott Havercroft to score out wide after 20 minutes 0-8.
Wivvy’s stand off was kicking well all game and through some ill-discipline from The Stags clawed back 6 answered points with his boot in a 5 minute period 6-8.
Wivvy began to gain momentum, with the side lines roaring them on, for the closing period of the First Half but The Stags defence was solid and forced a couple of errors.
Wivvy now had the wind and slope to their advantage which paid off when they were awarded a scrum just inside The Stags 22 area. The Stags were caught napping and off went one of the Wivvy players, unopposed, to score and the boot of the 10 kicked the additional 2 points 13-8.
The home team had the upper hand but The Stags dug deep, never let there heads drop and composed themselves to highest order. Piper clawed back 3 points with 20 Minutes to go, 13-11 and it was this point the game changed.
The Stags kept ball in hand and started to play the quick and expansive style of rugby we all know which is ruthless and immensely difficult to defend. A move that started in the visitors half, saw Toby Fear make 30m of ground who the off loaded to the supporting No 8 Ash Cutter and all 110+ KG of him bulldozered his way through 3 players to score. 13-16.
From the restart The Stags continued to apply the pressure on Wivvy with ball in hand and up popped Josh Holder to score the thris try of game under the posts who made it easy for Piper to convert 13-23. This silenced the home crowd and WIvvy began to faulter even more which gave Havercroft the opportunity to score his second try of the game out wide and make it virtually impossible for Wivvy to win with 8 minutes of play remaining.
The Stags saw out those remaining minutes with composure and sensible game management.
Final Score 13-28
Club Stalwart, Tim Piper said after the game that the second half had to be one of the best performances he had played in……. he’s played quite a few, and it was a joy to watch for all the travelling supports and team management.
By the way, Ed played all 80 minutes…….Sorry Dodge!
Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 45 Falmouth RFC 1st XV 10
Falmouth took the long trip up the A30 this Saturday to take on The Stags who are currently sat in second place behind league leaders Wadebridge Camels.
Despite Falmouth languishing second from bottom, it was clear to see from there spirited performance on Saturday, they should not be.
There defensive line was rapid and snuffed out The Stags on many occasions and made life difficult at the breakdown for the first quarter of the match.
It took The Stags 25 minutes to strike the first of seven tries when No8, Eoghan Westoff scored after several phases in the Falmouth 22 area with Tim Piper adding the conversion. 7-0.
The Stags were penalised after a high tackle which allowed Falmouth to add 3 points just after the restart.7-3.
The home backline of Lewis, Beard, S Havercroft, Piper, Holder, Fear and Watkins began to fling the ball around well and when the ball was distributed to them from a lineout on the right side, Fear spotted a gap in the Falmouth defence, pierced through with Holder in support who crosses out wide. Piper ads 14-3.
5 minutes later, a brace of tries came as The Stags backs ran riot with Holder scoring again then moments later Lewis under the posts. Piper converting both tries. 28-3.
Falmouth appeared a bit bewildered at what just happened but they should tenacity and spirit by clawing back a well deserved try just on the stoke of half time 28-10. HT
With Holder seeking his hattrick of tries and his patience payed off shortly into the second half to extend The Stags lead 33-10. Moments later, Birthday Boy, Alex Watkins found himself on the score board from strange build-up of play, which I was informed by Coach Kev Inalls (sorry don’t know the details as I was in the toilet). 38-10.
Inalls made some changes with Will Hopkins returning from injury for Sam Lewis, who twinged a miniscule muscle in his calf earlier in the game. Chris Warner came on for Stef Pierce in the front row department and Winger George Goodall for A.N OTHER.
Goodall made an instant impact with solid ball carrying, which set a good platform for pack, when taken into contact. More quick ball caught the Falmouth team knapping and Ryan Beard scored the seventh try of the match with Piper adding the last two points.
Final Score 45-10
Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 44 Bideford 1st XV 17
The Stags ended their 2021 campaign with a resounding win over Bideford RFC who they lost too earlier in the season by just the one point.
With an earlier KO time of 2.15pm it was clear from the off The Stags wanted to be lapping up some beer as quickly as possible after the game as they drew first blood after 6 minutes of play with Luke Gowan scoring the first try from the back of a rolling maul after winning the lineout. 5-0.
Bideford struck back shortly after by slotting a penalty for off side. 5-3.
The Stags began to pick up the tempo and were ruthless in all areas of the park. The quick recycling of ball was too much for Bideford to cope with and Will Hopkins crossed the white wash to score 10-3 after 14 minutes.
Full back, Alex Watkins, who returned from injury, found himself on the score sheet on the 20th minute as the ball worked its way across the pitch through several phases of play and he happened to score out wide 15-3.
10 minutes later, the unimaginable happened and to everyone’s amazement when Ash Cutter, who can dead lift over 250kg I will add, made an break into the Bideford 22 area, took the ball into contact 10m from the line and used his power and strength to keep going. More Bideford players tried in vein to bring the beast down but Cutter powered his way over the line with four Bideford players clinging on to score and get the bonus point. 20-3.
Loose head prop, Stef Pierce, bounced his way from the back of another rolling maul several minuets later and Captain Sam Lewis found himself on the score sheet on the stroke of half time. Tim Piper managed to score that conversion as it was just to left of the posts.
HT Score 32-3
Bideford seemed a bit bewildered with the half time score as they were playing that bad but it was just the pace, quick ball and width that The Stags played that they couldn’t deal with. Bideford did score out wide after their winger stepped inside to evade a couple of Stags to claw back some points 32-10.
Lewis responded several minutes later after spotting there was no one on the blind from 10m out to extend the score 37-10 but then Hopkins was caught knapping in his own 22 area as the Bideford flyhalf saw the gaps appear in the defensive line to score under the posts 37-17.
The Stags scrum began to dominate towards the end of the game and what fitting way to end the year was to see our very own Ex Deaf England International veteran, Nick Mcken score The Stags final try of the year with Alex Watkins getting the conversion..
Final Score 44-17.
From myself and The Committee we would like to wish you all a jolly good Christmas and Safe New year.
Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 40 Tiverton RFC 1st XV 7
The stags were back in action at The BASC on Saturday against a tenacious Tiverton side who gave it their all after using all three subs in the first half due to Blood injuries.
Tiverton started the brighter side with the wind behind them as The Stags struggled at the breakdown and were ‘turned over’ on several occasions which gave Tiverton plenty of territory and possession at times. It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that The Stags sprung into action when winger Josh Holder chipped the ball over his opposite player, the ball was bouncing towards the try line so the race was on until he was pulled back a Tiverton player and the referee awarded a penalty try 7-0.
Tiverton had already lost one player before two more clashed heads in a tackle so had used all there subs after 30 minutes of play and this was when The Stags began to open up the Tivvy defence. A forth Tivvy player soldiered on with his war wounds throughout the game thanks the first aiders on the battle field.
Sam Everett gathered a loose ball on the half way line, with Eoghan Westoff in support who made ground and was an elusive in the tackle as he made 20 meters into the Tivvy and up popped Turbo Pig, Will Hopkins in support to score. 12-0.
It was only several minutes later that Hopkins crossed the white wash again for his second try under the posts and Tip Piper adding he extras 19-0.
In what was the longest first half of rugby ever witnessed, due to the Blood stoppages, Tivvy began to gather some stride and found themselves deep in The Stags 22 area and with persistence came away with 7 points on the stroke of half time. HT 19-7.
With the wind now behind The Stags in the second half it was always going to be a challenge for Tivvy to mount another attack but there were numerous occasions The Stags had to withhold the onslaught.
A Further 21 points were scored throughout the second half with Ryan Beard crashing through The Tivvy defence. A well-deserved try for Westoff, who was a complete nuisance all game and then shortly before the final whistle Beard bags his brace of tries. Tim Piper converted them all.
Plonker of the match had to be Ross McKechan for entering a ruck in at the side in the first half then getting binned for 10 minutes in the second half and credit must go to Tiverton for giving it there all after some early loses.
Next week The Stags travel to the dark depths of Cornwall to take on 4th Place Truro RFC. KO is at 2.3pm and the coach leaves……………early!!
Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV - 29 Newton Abbot RFC 1st XV - 22
The Stags lacked the spark but came out on top after Newton Abbot took the game to wire.
This was the first time the two clubs had met in a league encounter and credit to newton Abbot as they kept pressure on The Stags under the dying minutes of the game.
Outside centre, Ryan Beard struck first scoring The Stags first try after 5 minutes to take the lead 5-0.
It was only 5 minutes later that Newton Abbot had the home team pinned in there 22 area. They had the overlap out wide and the winger scored and the try was converted for the visitors to take the lead. 5-7.
With the Stags lacking some energy around the park, Newton’s back line looked sharp. Having spotted the gaps, they were off, racing into the opponents half but a last ditch tackle on the 5m line wasn’t enough as the Newton attacker was supported and offloaded the ball for his team mate to score under the posts and extend there lead. 5-14 after 20 minutes.
The Stags began to wake from the dead to pile the pressure on Newton deep in there 22 area but the ball was turned over on the try line after several phases of pick and go. As the ball was on the try line, a quick witted scrum half, called Sam Lewis, and also our club captain, pounced on the ball and the try was given as there is no offside line when the ball is on the try line much to Newtons dismay. 10-14
Newton we awarded a penalty soon after for hand in the ruck. 10-17.
With half time looming, The Stags needed something. Applying the pressure on Newton they found themselves back in Newtons 22. A penalty against Newton for an infringement at the breakdown was given, Lewis took a quick tap and was off but only to be brought down short of the try line but support from loose head Stef Peirce was at hand who crashed over to score. Tim Piper slotted the conversion just before half time. 17-17.
Energy drinks and sachets of some substances (not class A,B or C drugs I will add) were had at the interval to give The Stags the energy they needed……………… and they worked!
Substitute Chris Warner, bagged his third try in successive games after a powerful run from the base of ruck and stretched for the line to score in the 60 th minute. Up stepped Toby Fear to take the conversion for The Stags regain the lead 24-17.
Newtons back line were at it again and by stretching The Stags defence they returned the favour by scoring out wide 10 minutes later. 24-22 with 8 minutes to go.
The character shown by the home team really shows how far this team have come in the last 2 season as they knew what to do and what was needed to win.
A scrum was awarded to The Stags in Newton’s 22 area. Piper was in a 9 to put the ball in. The Stags scrum was perfect all game and Piper using his experience, drew the attacker and flicked the ball out on the blind side for stand in wingder Andrew Aldred to score in the corner for a none converted try. 29-22.
With 3 minutes left on the clock, Newton had the upper hand from the restart as The Stags kicked away possession. The clock was ticking and all pressure was on The Stags as Newton had the ball but some valiant defending and a mistake by Newton closed the game out.
Final Score 29-22.
The win takes Burnham up to second place in the table.
Man of the match was Toby Fear.
Next Week they travel to Paignton KO will be at 2.30pm due to the clocks changing over the weekend.
Kingsbridge 1st XV 22 Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 36
The Stags last played at The Kings House, back in April 2018, whereby they were on the end of a 57-5 drubbing. Fast forward three and half years and things have dramatically changed.
From the off, The Stags meant business, and were rewarded with a Penalty for off side which Tim Piper slotted over for the first points on the score board. 0-3
Kings were under pressure in all areas for the first ten minutes and Stag No 8 Ashley Cutter went over for the first try of the game. Piper adding the conversion 0-10.
The Stags continued to pile on the pressure and Kings struggled to cope with this visitors expansive style of play. Kings were pinned in there own 22 area and after several phases of play the gaps began to appear which gave Tight Head Chris Warner time to scamper through and increase the lead with a second try and Piper converting 0-17.
Kings needed a awake a call and the score line was just that and the tide was about to change.
Ill-discipline began to creep in with numerous off sides and minor infringements at the break down. This allowed Kings to retain the ball and gain momentum.The stags began to wobble as Kings scored three tries all in the last 15 minutes of the first half. Thankfully there kicker was not on form as missed all three conversions. HT Score 15-17
The wobble continued for The Stags at the start of the second half which didn't help with some poor refereeing decisions.
Kings were camped in Stags 22 area, forced a lineout on the 5m line, which they won but the maul was not formed as The Stags did not compete, therefore, ball is in open play but the ref decided it was offside when Ross McKechan went for the player and ball.
From everyone's dismay a penalty was given against McKechan and Kings eventually came away with a penalty try 22-17.
Changes were made with James Havercroft and Andrew Aldred coming off the bench for Sam Wall and Ash Cutter respectively.
Both made an immediate impact around the park with solid ball carrying and gaining territory.This gave the Stag back line a platform to build on and within minutes, after several phases of play, The Stags ran in a superbly worked try which started in there own half and was scored by Ryan Beard out wide to level the score. 22-22.
The Stags expansive game we saw in the first half hour of the match came back to light and another well worked try was scored by Fullback, Scott Havercroft who raced along the wing and touched down under the posts making life easy for Piper 22-29.
Credit to Kings as they battled there way back into the Stag's half but resilient defending and some decisions going our way it was not to be. Aldred was a nuisance without the ball in the loose but with ball in hand territory was always made.
The nail in the coffin was minutes before the final whistle as inside centre, Will Hopkins, went over under the posts to seal the game .
Final Score 22-36.
Man of the Match went to Andrew Aldred
D@&K of the Day went to Toby Fear for knocking the ball on within his own try area!!!
Falmouth 1st XV - 0 Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV - 46
Burnham set off for in good spirits for the three hour trip to Falmouth. We were all expecting it to be a wash out in Falmouth with an ‘up the jumper’ game on the cards.
However club positivity paid off. As we came over the hill into the town the sun started to break through. Game on for Burnham to stick to their A plan.
Following kick off Burnham took the game to Falmouth and the referee had his work cut out keeping Falmouth on side, however following two penalties including one for back chat, Falmouth began to play ball. Unfortunately in the early exchanges Burnham lost flanker Ryan Beard to an ankle injury. He was replaced by Scott Mills.
Some good phase play allowed Burnham to get ball to allow winger George Goodall into the game. George out paced his opposite man to go over in the corner. Against the wind there was no comversion.
Falmouth continued to batter the Burnham defence but the attack was very one dimensional and the blue wall remained firm. Once Burnham regained possession through a knock on the resulting scrum functioned well. Burnham welcomed back from injury James Havercroft and he partnered former captain Ross McKechan in the engine room. Although a new combination the two worked tirelessly all afternoon to support the front row combinations of Mike Forward (replaced at half time by Lewis Dodge) Stef Pearce and Adam Peters. The scrum never faltered.
It was not long before Falmouth conceded a penalty and fly half Tim Piper slotted the points.
From the resultant change in possession Falmouth tried to emulate Burnham’s expansive free flowing game. However one of their passes was read perfectly by outside centre Josh Holder who ran in the try. Unfortunately the extras could not be added.
With a strong set piece Burnham were able to gain possession freely from lineout and scrum. This led to the more experienced Burnham backs linking together to gather two more tries before half time. The first one from a trade mark hard, fast and direct run from Will Hopkins. Tim Piper added the conversion. The second was from winger George Goodall who once again powered his way to the line following some fantastic interplay. No conversion. Half Time 0-25.
Following the break Falmouth with their half time pep talk still ringing in their ears tried in vain to breach the Burnham defence. Their young back line offered some hard running but could not link it all together to cross the whitewash. However Burnham did and full back Scott Havercroft finished off a sweeping move to cross the line allowing Tim Piper to add the extras.
Falmouth frustration crept in as Burnham continued to spoil the party through resolute defence by back rowers Scott Mills, Sam Wall and Eoghan Westoff. A resultant penalty found a long range touch. The Burnham lineout set a maul and trundled in from 20m. Prop Stef Pearce grounded the ball to gain the try. Tim Piper made the conversion.
Following twenty minutes of little possession, Burnham got themselves back into the game through the high work rates of all the players. Special mention should go to debutant Jack Atkins who stepped up to mirror solid performances from all the players.
However it was Hat trick Hero George Goodall who finished out the afternoon with his third try. Tim Piper was able to convert his strong running finish.
This Saturday Burnham play Honiton at the BASC ground. 3pm KO.
Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV - 29 Chard RFC 1st XV - 3
It was four years ago when Chard last visited The BASC who came away victorious with a 13-31 win. Fast forward four years and it was The Stags turn and put in their best performance from the four games played so far this season.
Chard have always been a nuggety old bunch with a well drilled set of forwards and plenty of pace in the backs but they struggled to cope with The Stags expansive style of rugby all afternoon.
The game commenced and pint size Adam Peters, with his low centre of gravity managed to turn the ball over at the break down. With possession changed with ball was deep in The Stags 22 was cleared by Toby Fear only for to land in the hands of Chard centre who ran back in the 22 area, who was tackled and The Stags were penalised for not rolling away. Chards No 10 opted to kick for posts and slotted to ball over for there only points of the match.
Not knowing what the outcome would be Chard were the better side in the first 10 minutes as they made in roads towards The Stags half but the home side stood strong and kept there discipline at bay. This payed off as Chard were ill-disciplined at the breakdown going in off there feet on several occasions when The Stags had possession. The game began to settle and the away team were caught napping when Captain and Scrum Half, Sam Lewis, threw an audacious dummy to out wit a couple of players and break through the defensive line to score the first try of the game. Alex Watkins converted 7-3.
Chards scrums stood firm all game and on several occasions were pushing the home pack backwards at a rate of knots but thankfully the ball also came back at a rate of knots for Lewis to feed the back line of Will Hopkins, in at No 10, centres Josh Holder & Ryan Beard and the back three of Toby Fear (anyone should fear him) George Goodall and Alex Watkins at Full back. Watkins was outstanding all game, who read the game perfectly, ran some superb lines and kicked well from hand. He was awarded half way through the first half when he scrambled over the line with a couple of Chard players hanging on but sadly couldn’t convert his own try. 12-3.
Soon after, Watkins kicked a further three points after Chard were penalised again at the breakdown. 15-3. Chard began to settle and threatened The Stags white wash a couple of times shortly before Half Time but the home side stood firm and the defensive line forced Chard to make errors.
Within minutes of the second starting, The Stags were all over Chard and forcing them backward with that Expansive style of play. After several phases, working up the pitch, Ryan Beard ran from deep and crashed through the Chard defence to extend the lead and Watkins adding the extras. 22-3.
Chard were fuming with themselves as they began to see the game slip away and heads began to drop but they remained strong in the scrums and were a nuisance in the loose trying to win ball. Tight Head, Matt Slater and back row, Luke Gowan had to be replaced through injuries by Chris Warner and Eoghan Westoff respectively. Both made an impact in the scrums and they began to with stand the experienced Chard pack. Hopkins was also replaced with a knock to his knee, not his head this time, by Scott Havercroft.
Chards frustration and discipline gave Watkins a further opportunity to add three points when The Stags were awarded a penalty but the ball went wide.
Chard knew they needed to get something out of this game when they got inside the home 22m area. They won the ball against the head, and the ball was passed to there centre who fumbled under pressure. Holder pounced on the loose ball, inside his own 10m area, who ran to open space with Ryan Beard in support. Beard making ground inside the Chard half was also supported by winger Goodall who scored a text book try. Watkins making it 29-3.
Chards heads had dropped as they knew they lost and with minutes to go, No 8 Ash Cutter broke free from the base of scrum inside his own half, saw that the Chard back line were not available to tackle and ran 50m but was brought down by the pacey Chard winger and full back shortly before the full time whistle.
Mentions to the engine room of Sam Everett and Ross Mckechan for putting in some hard yards and a awesome back row performances by Gowan, Tom Stevens, cutter and replacement Westoff.
We send a huge congratulations to our ever reliable Stef Peirce and his girlfriend Yasmin Luke on the birth of their son Edward earlier in the week. Another prop in the making who is now son of Beauty and the Beast!!!
Next week we travel to Falmouth.
Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV - 23 Wiveliscombe RFC 1st XV – 6
The Stags were back in action on home soil this Saturday against an old rival who they last met in the 2018/2019 campaign where Wivvy won both encounters. No doubt the Wivvy supporters, who came in there droves, were expecting a repeat from the last time they graced our pitch, sadly not!
Wivvy won the toss and opted to kick to start the match. It was only a few minutes into the game when The Stags were penalised at the breakdown in there 10m area. Wivvy’s flyhalf, feeling confident he’d make the distance, slotted the ball between the posts to take the lead 0-3.
His opposite number, Tim Piper, responded soon after to level the score after 8 mins of play. Piper then put The Stags in front on the twelfth minute with another fine penalty 6-3 after Wivvy were again penalised at the breakdown..
As the game began settle, The Stags began to gain momentum, going through the phases keeping Wivvy on the backfoot. As many know, The Stags are dangerous with ball in hand and up stepped outside centre, Ryan Beard to slip a couple of tackles to score the first try of the afternoon. Piper adding the extras 13-3.
From the re-start, Wivvy were ferocious in the loose and turned the ball over on many occasions, giving them the possession they wanted. This frustrated The Stags and another Penalty was conceded. Up stepped there No 10, who we knew had the distance when kicking from the tee. 13-6 after the first quarter.
Piper also had his long distance boots on that day and responded with his own penalty from within the WIvvy 10m area to extend the lead back to 10 points. 16-6.
The Stags pack had made amends from last week’s performance and stood string to another well drilled opposite set of forwards. This gave the platform that that they wanted to unleash the back line and try scoring turbo pig, Will Hopkins, who continuously sets the bar and rarely fails to deliver, scores on the stoke of half time to extend The Stags lead 23-6.
Now , the second half was a stark contrast to the first, in the fact it was scoreless. That said, this is a huge credit to the home team who have conceded a majority of there points in the previous two fixtures. This clearly showed that the midweek training had payed off. They were dogged in defence and the discipline had improved two fold.
Wivvy, ran out of ideas and were unable to penetrate The Stags defensive line and were turned over several times out wide when there elusive pack couldn’t support the backs in line. Changes were made throughout the second half with Adam Peters returning to Hooker for Sam Wall, Ed lewis replacing the lightweight and svelte looking Nick Mcken, only to last 90 seconds on the pitch when he rolled his chocolate ankle, so McKen returned to complete the game at tight head prop and then Scott Mills (not the DJ) played somewhere on the pitch and replaced…………another Stag!
All in all a great performance and a well deserved win to take The Stags mid table.
Next Saturday The Stags are home again to Chard RFC who last met in the 2017/2018 season. No doubt, another tough match ahead.
The 2nd XV are also home who kick off there campaign against Minehead 2nd XV. Both games KO at 3pm.
Bideford RFC 1st XV 40 Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 39
The Stags were on the road this Saturday and travelled the long dreary North Devon Link Road and ended up a delightful Bideford.
This was the first time the clubs have met and what a game it turned out to be.
The average age of The Stags was 26, but could have been lower had 41 year old Tim Piper not played. There were first team debuts for Lewis ‘deck chair’ Dodge, Mike Forward and Andrew Aldred who all put in awesome shifts on a sunny afternoon.
From the Kick Off , The Stags meant business with expansive rugby and within a few minutes that 41 year old, Timmy P, scored under the posts and converted his own try 0-7. Bideford responded soon after with a break up the centre of the park, spinning it out to score to wide but missed the conversion. 5-7.
The Stags expansive style of play opened up the Bids defensive line and some deft handling skills and good support play by the back line allowed Josh Holder and Toby fear o run in two quick tries, both converted by Piper to extend the lead 5-21. Bids look very vulnerable and it wasn’t much longer until The Stags struck again with Piper bagging his second try of the game. Sadly he didn’t make the conversion. 5-26.
Bids soon realised they needed to make some changes on their original game plan and started some good old fashion ‘up the shirt’ rugby keeping the ball tight and not giving it to their backs who were there weak point. It was fast approaching half time and the Bids forwards made ground and broke through The Stags defence to score under the posts 12-26. HT.
Bids now knew where The Stag weak point was which happened to be in the scrums. Bids scored shortly from the restart out wide after some punishing scrums and winning the ball back. 19-26. The Stags extended there lead with Piper slotting a penalty 19-29.
The Stags began to faulter and the front five of Dodge, S Wall, Gunduzm, Keckers, Everett, Stevens and Aldred struggled to deal with the monstrous Bids front five who where all in the region of 20 stone. Their size and experience was second to none and every scrum must have been a painful experience for our slender pack.
Experience can win games and Bids were awarded a penalty tries to claw back the score 26-29. Piper slotted another penalty soon after, 26-32. The Stags were now on the back foot with momentum going all Bids way who scored a converted try to take the lead for the first time in the game. 33-32.
The Stags knew they had to do something and managed to keep the ball alive. Deep inside the Bids half, Piper spotted centre Will Hopkins galloping at pace who caught and powered through several Bids players to score under the posts which Piper converted to regain the lead. 33-39.
With 10 minutes to go, could The Stags hold on for the win…………Nope. Yet again, the Bids giants came trundling back were awarded another Penalty try to seal the match.
Final Score 40-39.
Yet another emphatic match!!!
Credit must go to The Deckchair aka Lewis Dodge and Birkan Gunduz who played all game with a knee injury.
Next week The Stags are home to Wiveliscombe while the 2nd XV have a friendly against North Petherton 2nx also at home.
Burnham On Sea 1st XV – 30 Wadebridge Camels 1st XV – 32
The Stags were finally back league action after a long 18 months since there last league match with Wadebridge Camel taking the long trip up from the dark depths of Cornwall up to a sunny glorious Somerset on Saturday.
The Camels started the game at a ferocious pace and it was clearly evident of the style of play they intended. Not over committing at the break down, plenty of number out wide displaying an expansive game. This opened up The Stags defence and it wa sonly a few minutes from KO until The Camels took the lead with the first try of the game. 0-5.
Club Stalwart, Tim Piper who turned 41 years old during the pandemic, kicked a penalty shortly after the restart, 3-5. The Stags were caught napping several minutes later and The Camels ran another try out wide to extend their lead 3-10.
Possession was key from now on and with The Camels in control, Stags winger, Toby Fear raced up to intercept a floating pass from a Camel and The stag race to the line to score there first try which Piper converted to level the score. 10-10. The Stags smelt the fear in The Camels and with ball in hand, they were making in roads up the pitch, gaining territory and causing trouble. The forwards set a platform which allowed quick ball for Captain & Scrum Half, Sam Lewis, to release the backs albeit The Stags scored out wide by No 8, Ash Cutter who found himself on the wing. Conversion missed 15-10.
Both sides were hitting hard at the breakdown and in the tackle and sadly, Flanker , James Havercroft had to leave the field after feeling a little dazed after taking a knee to the head.
The Camels soon realised they needed to change their tactic and approach towards the home side and in similar fashion to the Stags, kept the ball tight, going through the phases and punching through the gaps. Some slack tackling gave The Camels opportunity to score shortly before HT to regain the lead, 15-17.
The Camels started the Second half as they left the first, catching The Stags napping again to extend the lead 15-22 but it was The Stags who then began to regain control from the restart by keeping possession. Centre, Will Hopkins, who always gains ground with ball in hand kept The Camels on the back foot, forcing them back into their own 22 yard area. Lewis was whipping the ball out from breakdown and after a few phases of play Cutter scrambled over the line, much to the dismay of the visitors who claimed a double movement but the referee had awarded the try. Piper’s 41 year right leg couldn’t quite make the conversion. 20-22.
The Stags ill-discipline crept in again and a penalty was awarded to The Camels for off side in the home 22 area. 20-25. Several minutes later play was stopped after, winger, Archie Neale was tackled in the air by a Camel, who was red carded for foul play. Sadly, Archie was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collar bone which was then later confirmed.
The Camels were now down to 14 players so had to regroup. The Stags clawed back 3 points from a penalty, 23-25, and soon after the restart a beautifully worked try was scored by Full Back, Scott Havercroft (James has a brother from the same mother) which started within The Stags half and he outpaced his opposite number and scored out wide. Somehow, that 41 year old leg of Piper’s, lost a few years and slotted the ball over the bar. 30-25.
With 10 minutes left to play, The Camels knew they needed a converted try to win but were awarded a penalty just left of the posts but thankfully The Camels full back left his Camel toe at home. A let off to say the least.
This obviously spurred on the desire of leaving that elusive toe at home and being a man down, so The camels were straight back in The Stags half with the clock ticking but for some unknown reason The Stags bottled it when they saw one camel, with four legs and two humps running at them who barged his way through several tackles to score to the left of the posts at the last play of the game. Sadly, the Camel toe made the conversion to win the match 30-32.
All in all an epic game to watch in the basking sunshine which suited the Camels not us Stags.
Next weekend we travel Bideford RFC.
Click here to see match reports from 2019-2020 season