Warrington Wizards 12 Hemel Stags 34
HEMEL Stags turned in a magnificent performance to defeat the previously unbeaten Warrington Wizards at the Wilderspool Stadium on Saturday.
A near full-strength Stags team tore into the home side from the kick-off and, with only four minutes on the clock, Seb Ward brushed aside the Wizards’ defence to cross wide out. Ryan Butcher’s conversion made it 6-0.
Almost immediately, the Stags suffered a blow when lively hooker Nick Wong was stretchered off with an ankle injury.
Hemel maintained their pressure on the Wizards quarter and were rewarded when second row Eddie M’Baraga used his fancy footwork to touch down to make it 10-0.
Five minutes later, it was Woodhall Farm-born M’Baraga who put the Stags totally in control. He went high for a Butcher kick towards the corner to tap the ball down to the waiting Ashley Fyson, who scooted over in the corner to make it 16-0, with Butcher converting.
As in all of the Stags’ matches this season, they had again taken a 16-0 lead.
The Hemel side were rampant, silencing the large home crowd, and when M’Baraga finished off some good build-up work to make it 22-0 it was difficult to see a Warrington comeback.
The Stags, however, suffered another injury setback when Kelvin Moore-Rapana had to withdraw from the match with a hamstring injury.
The re-organisation in the Stags ranks allowed Warrington to get on the score-sheet when prop Hayden James crossed from close quarters to make the half-time score 22-4 in favour of the Stags.
Hemel began the second half the way they had started the first, with man of the match M’Baraga showing the same immaculate footwork to score near the posts to make it 28-4.
Three minutes later, Butcher hinted at a landslide by the Stags when he crossed under the posts to make it 34-4.
Spurred on by their frustrated fans, the Wizards lifted their game and two well-worked tries from Sean Conway and the impressive Hayden James gave them some late consolation.
The win left the Stags as joint competition leaders with Huddersfield.
With no match this weekend, the club is looking forward to the big local derby with St Albans Centurions at Pennine Way on Sunday, June 3.
Emphasising the Hemel club’s depth, the Stags’ youthful A team also had an emphatic 60-18 win at Bedford Tigers this weekend.