The rub of the green went against Hemel Stags on Sunday as they suffered a 38-10 defeat to North Wales Crusaders at Pennine Way.
Hemel came into this fixture buoyed by last week’s win against South Wales, but North Wales were the deserved victors – although the margin of the victory in no way reflected the game over 80 minutes.
Stags coach Troy Perkins said: “We were eight points down at the break and in the arm wrestle with them, then we concede two tries to the bounce of the ball and the game has gone away from us.
“We are a young side and getting better – we will learn from today.”
After an even opening to the game, a knock-on gifted Crusaders possession on 11 minutes and a good break by Lee Hudson ended with a pass inside to Stephen Wild who cantered in under the posts.
Tommy Johnson converted, as he did for five of the Crusaders’ seven tries, and the visitors doubled their score on the quarter hour mark through Simon Atherton.
Hemel looked good on the attack, Matt Davis being halted just short of the line after good running by Harrison Brough and Reece Rance, but the Crusaders scored again to extend their advantage.
Aaron Hall gave away a needless penalty, and the resulting gain in field position brought about an easy try for Kenny Baker.
Hemel came back strongly as a good run by the impressive Scott Leatherbarrow opened up the Welsh defence for Aaron Ross to profit. Ben Stead converted.
Just before half-time, a superb run down the left wing by Kameron Pierce-Paul ended with him touching down in the corner; Stead’s kick rebounding off the upright.
Early in the second half North Wales had a try chalked off for a forward pass, but on 47 minutes they struck again through Alex Thompson.
Soon afterwards, another Welsh try was scored by Andy Moulsdale who simply had to fall on a loose ball over the try line when again Hemel failed to deal with a kick.
Hemel lost Kyal Greene and Crusaders lost Tommy Holland to an incident of handbags in the middle of the park as tempers flared.
Two unconverted ties in the last 10 minutes gave the game an unjust scoreline as Scott Turner and then Lee Hudson finished the afternoon’s scoring.
Hemel Stags: Josh Spearing, Reece Rance, Toyou Egodo, Kameron Pierce-Paul, Harrison Brough, Chad Isles, Scott Leatherbarrow, Matt Ross, Ben Stead, Aaron Hall, Barry John Swindells, Kyal Greene, Matt Davis. Subs: Mike Stewart, Malakai Lloyd Jones, Josh Halstead, Liam O’Callaghan.