30th July 2018

BOTH Hemel and the Raiders will have seen this fixture as a  must win game. Hemel were looking to do the double over their visitors and, at the same time, see something tangible for their recent improved form. The Raiders will have seen this game as perhaps their best chance of a win this season. As it was it was it was Hemel that won the spoils but not without having to fight hard against a determined Welsh outfit. 

The game wasn’t of the highest quality with a high number of dropped balls from both sides but in fairness the conditions didn’t help, the match being played in driving rain and high winds.

Hemel got the scoreboard moving on five minutes, Corey Hanson made good yardage before the ball reached Santino Decaro to touch down, helped by a pinpoint accurate pass from Burns. Jack Mitchell slotting the conversion. 

The Raiders came back strongly, dropping the ball over the line before a Philip Cowburn try and Stroud conversion levelled the scores. Raiders got their tails up with that score and had the better of the next few sets and following a penalty for ripping they took the lead when Luke Williams charged over. 

Hemel were perhaps surprised to be behind as the game reached the half hour mark but it was no more than the Raiders deserved. Hemel fought back with a good break by Broadbent and some hard runs from Jack Howieson, defying the years at 37!

The scores were levelled when Matt Welham touched down on the left, Mitchell not being able to make the tricky conversion.

The final score of the first period came from Corey Hanson, who was a stand out performer for the Stags, but the try was really made by a superb pass by Dean Roberts. Mitchell’s conversion giving the home side a six point margin at the break.

Hemel started the second half the strongest and started to dominate the game, they thought they had increased their lead five minutes in but the officials ruled it out for crossing. They did score almost straight after though, a kick on from Shaun Roberts saw Sheriff finish the move by dotting the ball down. Mitchell got the extras and when Jowett and Welham combined to put Welham in for another score on 53 minutes it looked game over as Hemel began to speed the play up and boss the Raiders. Corey Hanson got his second try of the afternoon by the left hand corner flag and even though Mitchell failed with the conversion the Stags seemed to be coasting to victory. 

All credit to West Wales who refused to believe the game was over and turned the tables on Hemel by putting them on the back foot for the final fifteen minutes eventually getting their reward with, firstly, a try for Alan Pope who used his bulk well to charge over the chalk from close range and with a converted try to Joe McClean on the hooter it was the Welsh who finished the game strongest.

After the game Dean Thomas said "A win's a win. I thought we dominated at times, especially for the first twenty minutes of the second half and at that time we were bossing West Wales but we made things difficult for ourselves by giving away field position through silly mistakes and penalties. We will take positives from the game though and the win will give us a good boost in confidence going forward".

Next week the Stags are back at Pennine Way to face Oldham. Kick off is at 2pm on Sunday.