Stags crash to Cup defeat as Oxford march on

Hemel Stags club crest
Hemel Stags club crest

Hemel Stags were knocked out of the Ipro Cup at the first round stage as Oxford RL secured a 34-12 victory at Maidenhead RUFC.

Oxford opened the scoring after just three minutes as a penalty for holding allowed Andy Hoggins to finish, with Jorge Richardson converting.

Oxford nearly got another try straight afterwards when Paul Stewart-Beckett knocked on 5 yards out, but Tom Lewsley was put into touch when crossing the line.

Hemel responded with back-to-back penalties, before Mike Stewart bundled through to score. Ben Stead added the two.

A Hemel knock-on put the pressure back on the away side, with man of the match Casey Canterbury going in under a pile of bodies. Richardson again converted.

Soon afterwards, Canterbury put in a cheeky kick on the last, gathered himself and fed Kitson who only had to run in but spilled the ball. Victor Coker was held up at the other end for Hemel, then Oxford lost Josh Scott with a nasty head wound.

Oxford were impressive, at times keeping the ball alive on the last with some inspired tap passing and quick hands. This paid off one minute from half-time when Oliver Holmes went in, with Richardson converting to end the half.

The second half started like the first as a high kick on the last was gathered by Igdidion, and he found Charlie Greene who cantered through. Richardson again kicked the extras.

Hemel came back into the game and started to put some pressure on Oxford – they got a reward with a try for Scott Ellis after an Oxford fumble of a high ball, with Stead converting.

However, two tries in two minutes sealed the win for Oxford. It was Canterbury who was the architect of the first; he could have scored himself but selflessly gave the ball to Josh Nathaniel on the wing to finish. Kitson took on the kicking duties and missed.

Santino Decaro got the last score of the game, running half the length of the pitch straight through a tired looking Hemel defence. Kitson added the two to complete the scoring.