After last week’s cup win over Tor the Stags were back in League action and travelled up too Bristol Harlequins who are currently sat just above relegation in the league standings, however, this was a club that has proved to be a challenge over recent years.
The Burnham Faithful arrived in there droves to support the lads and also brought with them the glorious sunshine which, as we know, can benefit us seasiders or so we thought anyway.

With numbers short for various reasons The Stags had only two replacements and we also welcomed back Sam Chillingworth after his long sabbatical at North Petherton who started at outside centre along side the ever improving rock of Will Hopkins.

The game underway and the Stags were awarded a penalty after 2 mins for not rolling away but Piper’s horsepower boots didn’t come up with the goods so he was given another chance just 3 mins later a bit closer to the posts this time and put the Stags 0-3 in the lead.

For the next 25 mins The Stags had plenty of possession and Quins were over committing at the break down leaving gaps but several handling errors and miss passes in the loose gave Quins the ball back at times.

The set peace was solid for both teams and The Stags lineouts were well executed to provide a solid platform for the backs but those pesky handling errors were costly at times.

As always, Jim Havercroft was his nuisance self, disrupting at the breakdown and tackling everything that came at him. Bieb’s Lewis at 9 put the most ridiculous hit on the Quins No 8 at one point and the whispers on the side lines was….who just did that!!!

Shortly after that, Hopkins was penalised for holding on and Quins levelled the score 3-3

With half time looming The Stags could sense the white line and from the resulting kick off Josh Holder sprinted into the Quins half, rose like salmon and slapped the ball backwards to give The Stags possession and with several phases of play were awarded a scrum 5m out. The ball was whipped out to an oncoming Hopkins who forced his way over the line just to the side of the posts. Easy conversion you’d think……..think again as the Quins Voodoo Spirits swept across the foot of Piper and forced the ball to hit the post. HT 3-8

Some stern words were said by Captain Kecks at half time and it was clear to say the lads heard what was said but it took 10 mins to sink in as Quins levelled the score in the second half. 8-8.

Now that it had sunk in, The Stags took the game to Quins and pushed them deep into there own half with quick ball from the breakdown, one, two, three phases, gaps appeared and then came long the marauding Russ Pike to score under the posts and he didn’t miss the conversion this time.8-15.

Quins had other ideas for 10 mins and kept The Stags camped on the 5m line but the D worked well and the defence kept Quins at bay which goes to show how far things have come for this young team since last season.

Changes were made with 20 mins to go and Nick Mcken made way for Stef Pierce at prop and Pike for Dan ‘Bruce’ Berry. Chillingworth moved to fullback to allow Berry in at centre who took several crash balls and made over 20m in territory which is a good Stat for only 20 mins on the pitch.

The stags controlled the remaining 10 mins of the game and Berry (not me I’m afraid) took the ball at speed (again definitely not me) was brought down on the Quins 22m line, Piper was at 9, Biebs at 10 who passed to Ryan Rossiter out wide but was brought down just short of the line and then Hopkins, at immense speed, ran straight through the Quins pack with ball in hand and smash his way over the line. Piper made up for the easy miss and converted to put The Stags 8-22 up.

Quins came straight back at The Stags but a lost lineout on the visitors 5m was the last chance for the home team.

Final Score 8-22Next week we entertain Old Reds 2nd XV at The Pit and KO is at 3.00pm.

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