Stags sting South Wales Scorpions to get their season up and running

Hemel Stags. Picture (c) Ian Lovell
Hemel Stags. Picture (c) Ian Lovell

Hemel Stags picked up their first Kingstone Press League 1 points of the season as they returned home with a 30-14 win from their visit to South Wales Scorpions.

Hemel’s task was made harder with injuries affecting several key players, and coach Troy Perkins was forced to bolster the squad with four players signed on loan from Championship side London Broncos.

The Stags were first to score in the ninth minute but it stemmed from a Scorpions attack. Kristian Hawkes’ deft kick took an awkward bounce and Yannic Parker tried to latch on to it but he fumbled, giving Hemel the scrum.

From that set-play, Stags worked their way upfield and Simon Hrbek beat off Dai Evans’ challenge to give them the lead, but BJ Swindells’ conversion attempt was wide.

Scorpions were looking lacklustre and the pacy Reece Rance slipped through the backline for Stags’ second on 15 minutes which Swindells improved to make the score 10-0.

Tuoyo Egodo, one of the Broncos on-loan players, barged his way past the Scorpions’ defence for a third Stags try on the 20 minute mark, and Swindells converted.

Hemel looked at this stage to be running away with the game, but Scorpions man Christiaan Roets dived over from close range to bring the score back to 16-4. Paul Emanuelli’s conversion sailed wide of the posts.

Rawsthorne then saw a try converted by Emanuelli soon afterwards, and Scorpions almost levelled straight away but Luke Nelmes’ final pass was intercepted by some alert Hemel defending.

After all of Scorpions’ good work to get the score back to a converted try behind, Stags started the second half well and were rewarded with a Ben Stead score five minutes in.

Simon Hrbek’s conversion attempt was wide, but Hemel increased their lead further when Stead fed Mike Stewart for the substitute prop to go in under the sticks. Swindells resumed the kicking duties and made no mistake to increase Stags’ lead to 26-10.

Scorpions hit back on 56 minutes after Yannic Parker did well to catch Kristian Hawkes’ pin-point kick, but Emanuelli’s kick went wide.

Stags sealed the game with 13 minutes to go as Rance scored his second try of the game, but Swindells’ conversion sailed wide of the uprights.

Hemel have a tough game next week when they face another Welsh side in the form of North Wales Crusaders with a 2pm kick-off at Pennine Way.