Hemel Stags ended their losing run as they recorded an 18-6 victory over South Wales Scorpions in Sunday’s Championship 1 clash.
Hemel got straight onto the front foot with a 40-20 by man of the match Jymel Coleman in only the Stags second set. The resulting scrum led to James Woodburn-Hall feeding prop Mike Stewart who went over between the sticks. BJ Swindells added the extras.
Stewart nearly scored again minutes later but he was ruled to have been offside in picking up the ball, before a storming run by Swindells ended with James Helliwell being held up over the line.
Scorpions pressed well, gaining two repeat sets, but it was Hemel who scored next through another Coleman-made try – this time his pass splitting the defence and Eddie M’Baraga going in easily.
It was after this that the heavens opened and the ground was engulfed in thunder, lightning and torrential rain; conditions that spoilt the game a little as a spectacle.
Ball control became scarce, evidenced by the fact that there were 29 scrums in the match.
Both sides earned repeat sets, then a 40-20 by Paul Emanuelli and two penalties under the post meant that Hemel had to defend stoically to keep the visitors out.
The rain abated just before the break and both sides had players held up over the line.
The sun was out for the start of the second half and Hemel started it as they had started the first, stretching their lead to 14-0 on 48 minutes as a wicked crossfield kick outwitted the Welshmen, with Vinny Finnigan leaping high to collect and score. Swindells missed the kick.
Scorpions hit back soon afterwards when a Hemel fumble allowed Curtis Davies to cross out wide for a well deserved try, with Emanuelli converting.
Woodburn-Hall and Dafydd Hellard were given 10 minutes to cool down after an altercation on the halfway line, and the resulting Hemel penalty ended in Swindells making up for his missed conversions by getting himself a four-pointer to wrap up the win.