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Ashbourne 26 - 5 Mansfield

Derbyshire proves infertile ground for Mansfield

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2016 09:01pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Mansfield Sports Correspondent
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On a freezing and windy afternoon in beautiful Derbyshire two quick tries immediately after half time undid a great deal of preparation work that Mansfield had put into this game in the first half and in retrospect effectively ended the affair as a contest at that point. 

Coach Wayne Robinson was unhappy at the frivolous way in which his team gave up a great position going into the second half having battled for the first half up a considerable hill and a crosswind that slightly favoured the home side. He said, “We were in a great position going into the second half just one score away but 5 minutes of careless defence immediately after the whistle cost us dearly in the end”. 

He is spot on, a well taken try after just two minutes looked like making the job harder but just three minutes later Ashbourne could not believe their luck as they waltzed through for a second try. So with five minutes played in the second half one score had turned into 19-0 and an unassailable lead. That said, even the most die-hard home supporters cringed a little in embarrassment at the manner in which the passing for the second try was allowed to continue but nonetheless it did for the visitors and the literal downhill became a metaphoric uphill in an instant.  

The first half was well contested in many ways and to be fair to the visitors they had an awful lot of play at this point. The first quarter did belong to Mansfield but they just couldn’t get over the line. On a very muddy pitch the home team appeared to cope with the conditions underfoot better as the visitors slipped and slid at crucial moments in attack rendering moves that hitherto looked promising redundant as the defence was allowed to position themselves accordingly. 

With 25 minutes of the game played an incident saw the Referee send a player from each side to the sin bin. Towards the end of the period of banishment it was the home side who took full advantage of the man deficit by scoring a try. 

Having been awarded a penalty close to the Mansfield line the home team eschewed the three points on offer and opted instead bravely for the lineout. It paid dividends as a perfectly executed catch and drive resulted in a converted try which as it turned out was the only score of the first half. 

The final fifteen minutes was played out with both sides trying their best to gain the upper hand. Neither team really achieved this and it was down to who was best able to gain dominance in the second half that would determine the final outcome. 

Mansfield’s only score came from an ambitious attack on the half way line from the home side when a move became a little too complicated and the evergreen Rob Storey collected an interception pass. Despite the covering defence doing their best work it was not enough to stop the former Wing-Turned Centre showing them all a clean pair of heels!

Despite a second yellow card for the home team with ten minutes to go the blue & whites still couldn’t improve on their tally. The final play of note saw a carbon copy of Mansfield’s try as the home team seized upon a wayward pass followed by a dropped ball to collect the oval prize and race the last 20 metres to register the final score at 26-5. 

Mansfield play travel to Melbourne this week in a game rearranged due to bad weather in December. You can follow the action on Twitter @MansfieldRugby.

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