Vital experience as Stags tackle strong Gateshead outfit

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Hemel Stags 22
 Gateshead Thunder 42

Hemel Stags put in an encouraging display against Gateshead Thunder as they took on Championship 1 opposition in a friendly match for the first time this season.

Thunder proved to be determined opponents and worthy winners, although there was less between the two sides than the final score would suggest.

After a bright start by Hemel, the opening try came against the run of play when Nick Johnson went over for Gateshead after seven minutes.

Hemel responded well and levelled things up when Aaron Small picked up a loose ball and ran under the posts, with kicker Barry John Swindells slotting over the conversion.

Thunder rallied and added two further tries in quick succession, but Hemel responded shortly before half-time with a converted try from prop Ian Keevil to reduce the deficit to 20-12 at the interval.

Despite a bright start from the hosts at the start of the second half, Thunder began to boss proceedings after the break and added three further tries to their tally, but Hemel notched another of their own through Chad Sharp.

Gateshead scored again to break the 40-point barrier, but it was Hemel who finished the game the strongest and the hosts scored the final try of the game through youngster Harry Mostyn.