Stags feel force of Thunder as winless run goes on

Hemel Stags in action earlier this season. Picture (c) Kevin Read
Hemel Stags in action earlier this season. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Hemel Stags saw their losing run continue on Sunday as Newcastle Thunder bounced back to winning ways in the Kingstone Press League 1 with a 40-26 victory at Kingstone Park.

After last week’s disappointing defeat at home to London Skolars, Stags coach Troy Perkins had demanded a better performance from his players.

He got that improvement, but it was still not enough to prevent Newcastle from earning the victory.

Hemel were straight on the attack, and they deservedly opened the scoring when Jymel Coleman cleverly dummied then arced around two defenders to go over the line. Ben Young made the difficult conversion.

A knock on by Michael Brown, allowed Newcastle’s Benn Hardcastle to cross for his side’s first try, but Stags went over again when Darrell Olpherts scooped up a loose ball before beating two men and running fully 80 yards for the try.

Papua New Guinean Charlie Wabo pounced on a fumbled high ball in the Hemel goal area to reply for the hosts shortly afterwards, and it took until the 30th minute before another breakthrough was made, as Jacob Blades touched down to give Newcastle the lead for the first time in the afternoon

With Hardcastle’s second making it a half-time lead of 22-12, Newcastle proceeded to make the game safe after the break with tries from Stuart Kain and another Hardcastle effort followed by Ali Blair’s try on 67 minutes.

Howvever, the half wasn’t without it’s bright spots for Hemel; Coleman went over again and Brown also bagged a try - Young converting the latter score.

With the match delicately poised, the hosts delivered the reply demanded of the 1,027 supporters sat in Kingston Park, scoring three unanswered converted tries in an explosive 12-minute period of play.

However, Hemel never gave up and deservedly the final word of the game went the visitors’ way Alex Anthony picked up the ball in his own in goal area, before running the entire length of the pitch to touch down.

Stags now have to build on this game and look to get a win under their belts next Sunday when they are on the road again, this time travelling to face South Wales Scorpions.

Newcastle Thunder: Kain, Blades, Blair, Brown, Capper, Beharrell, Hardcastle, Barron, Wabo, Martins, Payne, Craig, Clarke, Simons, Boot, Fewlass, Welsh.

Try scorers: Hardcastle (12) Wabo (22) Blades (25) Craig (34, 62) Kain (55) Blair (67).

Hemel Stags: Olphert, Anthony, Brown, McNamara, Harbek, Coleman, Young, Stewart, Helliwell, Ljazouli, Mbaraga Ingarfield, Swindells.

Try scorers: Coleman (5, 44) Olpherts (19) Brown (51) Ingarfield (80).