Seven-try Oxford leave Stags empty-handed at Pennine Way

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

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Hemel Stags suffered a disappointing 38-16 defeat to Oxford at Pennine Way in their final home match of the Kingstone Press League 1 season.

Oxford ran in seven tries to beat the Stags, and took an early lead after Kyle Danns, Adam Withington and Josh Nathaniel touched down to give them a 16-point advantage.

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Liam O’Callaghan and Thibault Cousinie hit back for the hosts, but Luke Evans, Andy Speake, Louis Richards and Craig Cook furthered the gap between the two to give Oxford a 22-point win.

The visitors scored first as the tackle count was waived for an attempted interception and Danns took advantage to go over, with Nathan Kitson adding the extras.

Three minutes later they increased their lead by another four points, and a defence splitting pass opened up the Hemel line soon afterwards for Nathaniel to finish. Kitson was on target with the boot.

Oxford were dominating the game, but when Hemel did get a chance through a repeat set they took advantage as O’Callaghan touched down for a score that was converted by Charlie Lawrence.

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

However, a try from Evans and a conversion by Kitson brought the curtain down on the first half, with some very lazy Hemel defence at fault.

Stags came out for the second half looking like a different set of players – they immediately got on the front foot and, for the first 10 minutes, simply blew Oxford away.

A high kick on the last by Coleman was superbly caught by Ash Fyson, and he dropped over the line in the corner to score. Woodburn-Hall missed the difficult kick, but Hemel continued to pummel the Oxford line and Couisinie went in under the sticks to give Coleman a simple conversion.

Oxford woke up at this point and put Hemel on to the back foot. When the Hemel defence went missing, Speake ran through an enormous gap for an easy touchdown. Kitson converted.

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

The game was effectively sealed around the hour mark with a try by Richards and then a scoot from close range by Cook. Kitson totally messed up the first conversion but his conversion of Cook’s try was the last score of the game.

Oxford will be pleased with what was a proper team performance, with their seven tries coming from seven different players, while Hemel could only rue another missed opportunity.

Stags coach Troy Perkins said: “We were very poor in the first half and said at half-time that if we keep the ball we will be OK. We did that for a spell and then dried back to the level we were in the first half.”

Next Sunday the Stags travel to West Yorkshire to play Keighley Cougars in their final game of the season.

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read