The Stags took to the road this week and travelled to the outskirts of Bath to take on Avon RFC. 

With several key players missing due to injury or unavailability various changes were made with Nick McKen returning after playing for Deaf England the week before, Tom Wall, Luke Gowan and Ash Cutter back in the forwards, Chris Warner and Jake Allen on the bench and also the debut appearance of new signing Eoghan Westoff who proved his capabilities throughout the game.

The sun was shining in Bath and from the kick off The Stags attacked the Avon line and before we could all blink Westoff turned over the ball the ruck and was awarded a penalty for holding on. Piper chose to go for posts but the ball fell agonisingly short.
From the 22 restart the stags took the play back into Avon’s 22 but after several phases of play lost the ball on the 5m line, but not for long as the forwards turned over the ball in the ruck, Tom Talk Talk Wall gained ground quietly, to the marauding Captain kecks who kindly popped the ball to the supporting Tom Stevens to score under the posts. Tim Piper with the extra’s 7-0.

From the KO Avon were straight back into the game and camped in the stags 22. Avon’s fullback somehow wriggled his way through several Stag’s to score and level the score. 7-7.

Then it was the stags turn from the KO and Ash Cutter, somehow with ball in hand, had to turn on the gas and sprint for the line from the 10m line to evade the chase Avon players to score under the posts. Piper converted 7-14.

You’d of thought that the stags would take note from the previous KO of what was coming but nope and gave away a penalty to allow Avon back in the game. 10-14.

This seemed to change the mind of the visiting stags who started to play some very attractive, quick and simple rugby going through the motions, left to right, one, two, three phases which opening up the gaps and winger Jude Donnelly finished what was a sublime phase of play. 10-19.

The stags seemed to have fallen asleep a little, again, from the KO and Avon scored an unconverted try 15-19.

This was end to end stuff and with half time looming Captain Kecks ripped the ball from an Avon player in the tackle and set up a ruck, Sam Lewis passed to Piper who slipped the ball to Ryan Rossiter running some crazy line and broke the Avon defence. Jude Donnelly was soon to be supporting Rossiter who committed the last man to give Donnelly his second try. 15-26 HT

10 mins into the second half changes were made with Warner, Allen and Royston Grimstead coming on for Wall, Stefan and Mcken in the pack.

The stags scrums became more steadier but unfortunately the poor discipline crept in and the score line changed 27-26.

Several words from Kecks were given and the stags showed Avon what they were good at with quick ball, using the width of the pitch and Rossiter running them crazy lines who deservedly scored after several phases to retake the lead. 27-31.

With 10 mins left on the clock the stags knew what was coming and through some ill-discipline Avon kept the stags in there own 22 and forced several errors. Those errors awarded them a further 10 points to snatch victory with the final score 37-31.

The stags were by far the better team for many periods of the game and the positives will be taken from the periods.

Its sure too say that we have nothing to fear in this league and teams will struggle to cope with the style and flare we bring to the pitch.

MOM was Ryan Rossiter.

Next Week we entertain Bristol Barbarians at home. KO 3pm.

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