Mirfield Stags’ lead at top trimmed after first defeat of season

Braden Hunter was among the Mirfield try scorers but was unable to prevent the Stags slipping to a first defeat of the season in the Pennine League Championship.
Braden Hunter was among the Mirfield try scorers but was unable to prevent the Stags slipping to a first defeat of the season in the Pennine League Championship.

Mirfield Stags saw their unbeaten run grind to a halt last Saturday after suffering a disappointing 40-26 defeat at the hands of Odsal Sedbergh.

An impressive first-half showing saw Odsal rack up a 26-point advantage, which proved insurmountable for the Championship Division leaders to overcome.

Despite something of a fightback after the break, which saw the Stags move to within three-converted tries at one stage, the hosts had done more than enough to hold on.

Four unanswered tries, scored inside 34 minutes, put Odsal in the driving seat.

Captain Reece Spurr hit back for the Stags, who hadn’t lost since last September, the back-rower getting on the end of an inch-perfect grubber kick to touch down.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Odsal rallied and cancelled out Spurr’s effort.

The home side extended their advantage by four points after the interval, landing successive penalty goals from close range, leaving Mirfield even further behind on the scoreboard.

Stags coach Richard Silverwood re-shuffled his line-up going into the final half hour and it helped his side’s cause.

Despite a below-par performance, Mirfield’s fighting spirit saw them cross the whitewash for back-to-back tries, courtesy of Jake Shaw and Braden Hunter, who converted both.

But just as the visitors appeared to be gaining the upper hand, they suffered a further blow as front-rower Phil Shotton was shown a red card, following a minor fracas.

AJ Boardman was sin-binned shortly after, when he was found guilty of a professional foul by the referee.

This left Mirfield with 11 men and something of a mountain to climb during the final quarter.

Lewis Martin grabbed two late touchdowns as the Stags did everything they could to get a grip of proceedings.

But it was a case of too little too late as Odsal grabbed a last-gasp try to seal Mirfield’s fate as their lead at the top was cut to two points.