Kingstone Press League 1 Match Preview: Hemel Stags vs Barrow Raiders

Date: Sunday 14th June

Kick-off: 2.30pm

Venue: Pennine Way Sports Ground


Hemel Stags welcome Barrow Raiders on Sunday in round 10 of the 2015 Kingstone Press League 1 season, hoping to cause an upset against the travelling Cumbrian outfit.

The Stags go into the game off the back of a late victory over Gloucestershire All Golds, as Mike Stewart’s try five minutes from time secured a 34-30 win.

Hemel coach Troy Perkins has been impressed with his side’s progression over the last couple of weeks and feels they are heading towards their best.

“We improved against Swinton and we improved again against the All Golds and are going in the right direction,” said Perkins. “Our defence was a lot better, our attack hasn’t been a major issue and we scored a fair few points.

“There’s still a few too many errors and basic mistakes but to get a result and score the winning try in the last five minutes showed a fair bit of character.”

He is also well aware of how tough a task their game on Sunday will be, despite having to rely on video footage to assess his opponent’s style of play, and thinks that if they can improve again this week they are in with a chance.

“Barrow are one of the top teams. I don’t know a lot about them because we haven’t played them before so I’ll be watching a bit of video this week to get a better idea about how they play.

“The fact that they’re coming down the day before is a compliment to us but it’s still a long way. They won’t know much about us and have never played on our pitch. The last two weeks have seen improvements and we need to improve even more this week against one of the top teams.

“We need to build on last week’s performance and put up a good show. If things go right for us we’re in with a chance of getting a result.”

Barrow go into the game off the back of a narrow 24-22 defeat at the hands of the league leaders Keighley Cougars, as they showed good resolve to fightback with a man down, but they just came up short.

Their indiscipline cost them in the end and although coach Paul Crarey was impressed with the way his side battled on with 12 men, he will be hoping they can keep it at 13 against 13 this week.

“I think we let ourselves down a little bit against Keighley last week,” Crarey admitted. “We had a player sin binned and the then the same player was sent off in the second half, we were a victim of our own indiscipline and ball control.

“We played with 12 men most of the first half and all the second half. After the first half I didn’t think we deserved anything but the lads dug deep. We did really well and looked a strong side in the second half and I thought we deserved a draw.”

His side have a long trip down south to Hemel however it will be made easier by their decision to travel down the day before and stay over, as they come up against a side who have hit some form recently.

“We’ve got Hemel this week, I’ve watched them on tape and out of all the southern teams I’ve been quite impressed with them. I watched the Swinton game and they were unlucky not to get anything out of it, then they went to Gloucester and turned everybody’s head with a great win, so they’re coming into a bit of form. They’re a big side and we’ll be playing on a relatively narrow pitch, which will be difficult for us. We’ve got to have high completion rates and turn up with our A game.

“The big thing for us is we’re travelling down the day before. When we went to Coventry it really did suck the life out of us having to travel down on the day and play. It’s a massive factor sat on the bus for four to five hours and then having to play rugby. The club are putting us up in a hotel so we’ve got to deliver, we’ve got a few injuries but it gives an opportunity to somebody else.

“It’s probably a crucial period for us now with the injuries, so it’s how we cope over the next few weeks that will determine where we are in the season.”

Prediction: Barrow Raiders by 10 points.


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