16th July 2018


 H/T. 10-10

 Could have. Should have. Those were the sentiments circulating around the Hemel ensemble after this League 1 game.

Games between the Bears and the Stags are usually close affairs and this one was no exception. Coaching staff Dean Thomas and Jack Howieson will be encouraged by the effort and commitment put in by their squad but must view the result as a confidence boosting win that got away.

 Coventry kicked off under blistering sun and 30 degrees and it is to the credit of both teams that they gave their all for 80 minutes in strength sapping conditions. After just three minutes the Stags had committed the sin of giving away back to back penalties. The subsequent gain in field position allowed impressive fullback Jason Bass  to score the opening try improved by ex Stag Ben Stead.

 The Stags were level after ten minutes. This time it was a penalty to Hemel for a high tackle that started a move that saw prop Blake Broadbent, watched from the stands by his father ex Great Britain prop Paul Broadbent, find a gap to canter through to the line.Kieran Smith brought the scores level with a successful conversion. 

Half way through the first period Coventry re gained their lead, Bass getting his second try of the day, Stead was not able to make the conversion on this occasion.

 The Stags were certainly matching their hosts in all departments, It’s probably unfair to praise individuals in what was a good team performance but Marcus Stock and Dean Roberts were among those impressing.

 The Stags showed a new level of confidence when they went for a power play on the last tackle, Alex Williams squeezing in at the corner to level the score at 10-10. 

With 39 minutes on the timekeeper’s clock the Referee must have been affected by the sun when he took it on himself to blow the whistle for half time, the hooter actually sounding as the players and officials went into the changing rooms!

 Hemel started the second half strongly forcing Coventry into conceding a goal line drop out and then a penalty to the Stags directly in front of posts saw them elect to kick. Kieran Smith putting his side into a two point lead. 

The Bears came back at the Stags and with just 10 minutes remaining they took the lead, Kieran Sherratt easing through a missed tackle for a try improved by Stead.

 Hemel fought bravely to retake the lead, Marcus Stock was held up over the line then a cheeky kick through on the last tackle was gathered up by Kieran Smith for a  try. Smith converted to give the Stags a two point lead.

It looked as though Hemel might just get a well earned win but a Coventry try by the right hand corner from Harry Chapman on 76 minutes gave the home side a narrow victory and left Hemel wondering what might have been.

Could have. Should have. Who knows, might have if the referee had not blown a minute early to conclude the first half. Just saying.