Hemel Stags got back to winning ways on Sunday with a much-needed away victory against the South Wales Scorpions.
Although they went into the half-time break four points behind their hosts, a strong second half performance gave them a comfortable win.
It was the Stags who started strongest on a very hot day in the valleys and they got the scoreboard moving after just four minutes.
A high bomb from Jymel Coleman was fumbled by the Scorpions, eventually resulting in Derrell Olpherts going over for what was to be the first of a hat-trick of tries in a man of the match performance.
With BJ Swindells missing through injury, the conversion was taken by Coleman but he was wide of the mark.
The Welshmen replied five minutes later; Hemel knocked on 30m from the opposition’s line but a good flowing move by the Scorpions followed by a storming run from Dafydd Hellard resulted in Yannic Parker diving over for the score.
Welsh international Paul Emanuelli made the difficult kick to give the hosts a two-point lead.
Olpherts got his second try on the 15 minute mark in what is becoming a trade-mark style; collecting the ball on his own 20m line, he evaded two tackles and sprinted down the pitch to score. Again, Coleman missed the conversion.
Then came two Welsh tries from hooker Connor Farrer – twice he scooted from dummy-half just feet from the line and both times the Stags defence fell for his dummies. Emmanuelli converted both scores and suddenly the Stags were 18-8 down and looked to be heading home pointless.
The Stags’ cause was helped when Scorpions dropped the ball from the kick-off; Jamie Crowther collected the wayward ball and sprinted over the line with ease. Coleman’s kick was good and the Stags were back to within four points.
Three minutes later and they were level as another high kick from Coleman was missed by Scorpions. This time it was Simon Hrbeck who benefitted, with Coleman missing the conversion.
The final score of the half was from Parker who went over from short range under a pile of Hemel defenders. Unusually Enanuelli missed the conversion.
The Stags came out for the second half meaning business and, only two minutes in, a penalty for ripping the ball in the tackle was taken quickly – ending with debutant Aston Wilson, on loan from Hunslet, diving over. A missed conversion meant the scores were tied.
Wilson got a second try straight afterwards as South Wales kicked out on the full and, from the penalty, Wilson went over in what was virtually a repeat of his first try. Kicking duties were handed to Charlie Lawrence but the difficult conversion went wide.
Two more Hemel tries followed in quick succession. James Woodburn-Hall sprinted 40m for the first of them, and after a penalty awarded for a dangerous spear tackle, Alex Anthony crossed in the right hand corner. The first of the two tries was converted by Lawrence.
Alex Anthony got his second try on 62 minutes and the Stags were now 40-22 to the good.
Olpherts completed the Hemel scoring and his personal hat-trick soon afterwards as he ran the perfect line to take a Coleman pass at speed to beat the Welsh defence. Woodburn-Hall made sure of the extra two points.
Credit to the Scorpions, though, they never stopped looking for a way back and went over again when replacement Zak Williams intercepted a Coleman pass and ran 90m to end in a swallow dive to cheers from the home supporters. Emanuelli’s conversion was to be the last score of an entertaining game.
Hemel Stags return to Pennine Way next Sunday to face Coventry Bears in another must-win contest.
Hemel Stags tries Olpherts (3), Anthony (2), Hrbeck, Wilson (2), Woodburn-Hall, Crowther.
Goals: Coleman, Lawrence, Woodburn-Hall.