Preview: In-form Stags looking to teach the Skolars a lesson in derby showdown

Hemel Stags crest
Hemel Stags crest

Hemel Stags continue their push for an end of season play off spot with a visit to local rivals London Skolars on Sunday.

The Skolars, under the tutelage of former Harlequins RL star Joe Mbu, are currently languishing second from bottom of the Kingstone Press Championship One table, having garnered just 14 points and three victories from their 13 matches in a disappointing campaign to date.

One of these wins came on Good Friday at the Pennine Way Stadium, when a last minute penalty and drop goal from the now departed Matt Bradley secured a 27-24 victory and local bragging rights for the visitors.

However, this success has been followed by just one further three -oint haul for the London side, a nine try 52-28 triumph at Oxford RLFC in mid-June.

Hemel for their part will be looking for a fourth away success of the campaign and hoping to build upon last Sunday’s superb victory against the All Golds in Gloucestershire.

They will also be aiming to exact revenge on the New River Stadium men for their earlier season victory.

Derby matches invariably have added spice for players and spectators alike and this contest promises to be a fascinating spectacle.

Hemel boss Troy Perkins is justifiably confident ahead of the clash, but urges a note of caution, saying the Skolars may be in a false position on the league ladder.

“On paper the Skolars are a very good team,” he said. “They’ve a lot of quality players, but for whatever reason they haven’t been putting it together consistently this season.

“But I’ve already spoken to our players about ignoring the table, because it’s a derby game and London will have targeted this as a game they want to win more than any other.”

Meanwhile, Skolars Mbu wants to build on his side’s progress made in their last Kingstone Press Championship fixture against top of the table, York City Knights on Sunday.

The Londoners picked up a bonus point, losing 30-20 at home against the Yorkshire outfit in a performance that left Mbu encouraged.

He said: “We worked together as a team – something that hasn’t been the case in some of our recent matches.”