Stags late show seals league ti­tle

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ADVERTISER & EXAMINER - by RICHARD SPILLER richard.spiller@trin­i­tymir­ Twitter: @Sur­reyAdSpills

LEAV­ING it late could not stop Che­sham Stags U18 Colts claim­ing the OBB League Divi­sion Three ti­tle.

They beat a de­ter­mined Brack­nell side 26-23, tak­ing the lead with just 10 min­utes re­main­ing af­ter both teams en­tered the match with un­beaten records.

The Stags had started top of the com­pe­ti­tion – which takes in teams from Ox­ford­shire, Bucks and Berks – but found them­selves up against a side full of in­tent, dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion and rock­ing the young Stags back on their heels.

From an early scrum, Brack­nell broke through the cen­tre and spun the ball wide. Full-back Bryan Bran­don made a des­per­ate at­tempt to tackle the fly­ing wing on the line but slid high in the tackle and was shown a yel­low card.

Brack­nell con­verted the try and con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate play against 15 men, soon dou­bling their lead with a con­verted try to go 14–0 up.

Re­stored af­ter his pur­dah, Bran­don made amends by slip­ping through a series of chal­lenges to touch down in the cor­ner and scrum-half Ge­orge Pet­tifer sniped through a gap soon af­ter. A fine con­ver­sion from the touch­line by fly­half Luke Bouch­ier had the Stags just two points adrift.

The sides con­tin­ued to trade blows with Brack­nell’s as­tute tac­ti­cal kicking pin­ning back the Buck­ing­hamshire side but a solid li­ne­out deny­ing many scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

By half time, Brack­nell had scored again but Ed Lunt mauled the ball over the line to leave his side just be­hind at 21-19.

A con­verted try just af­ter the in­ter­val widened the gap again and the lead gap could have been big­ger when Il­lan Sirotkin in­ter­cepted a wide pass on the Che­sham 22-yard line and steamed the length of the pitch with de­fend­ers in his wake.

That gal­vanised the Stags and they at­tacked with dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion, fight­ing off a weight dis-ad­van­age up front to se­cure a good sup­ply of pos­ses­sion.

From a ruck, the ball reached Bran­don in open field in the op­po­si­tion half and he rounded two de­fend­ers to cross the line with Boucher slot­ting a nerve­less con­ver­sion.

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