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Bedford Athletic Win by 7 Tries to 2

Ladies Day at Mansfield RFC

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2014 09:56pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Foster
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Saturday was Ladies Day at Mansfield Rugby Club where Bedford Athletic journeyed north up the A1 to Eakring Road. Following two emphatic victories the blue and whites were determined to extend their winning run but the visitors had an attacking edge that eventually saw them win by seven tries to two. 

The home side struggled to find their spark despite a dominant performance from an injury hit pack in the scrum, particularly evident in the early stages of each half. Two scrums within the first five minutes were to set the tone with the home side disrupting the visitor’s ball who to their credit, still managed to clear their lines even with their scrum in retreat.

If the home sides scrum was dominant, their usually reliable line out was the mirror image with errors in that area of the game to prove costly on more than one occasion during the afternoon. The visitors showed their attacking intent as early as the forth minute, stealing Mansfield line out ball and releasing the backs, only valiant defence halted the attack with Mansfield awarded a penalty on their own line as Bedford fail to release. 

The visitors finally opened their account in the tenth minute after a period of sustained pressure when quick thinking from their scrum half caught the home side napping to score under posts. 

The restart was knocked on by Bedford and gathered by a player stood in an offside position; fly half Ross Elms kicked the ball into the corner. For once line out ball was secured and the maul formed, Bedford used their full armoury to disrupt the drive to the satisfaction of the referee but to the dismay of the watching faithful. Eventually prop Liam Grant broke from the back of the maul only to be halted agonisingly short of the line.

From the resultant scrum Joe Symcox picks up from the base and sets off towards the line ably supported by brother Alan only for close quarters knock on to hand possession back to the visitors who gratefully clear their lines. More line out misery for the home side after 15 minutes, the ball is tidied by the Bedford flanker who releases his supporting winger, 0-14. 

A Bedford scrum from the restart again resulted in scrappy possession but again they manage to scramble a clearance to half way. Yet another line out taken against the head allow Bedford to clear deep into Mansfield territory, a deft chip through puts the winger through, again great defence prevents what looked to be a certain score. 

The relief was however only temporary as from the resultant scrum Bedford quickly spun the ball through their backs for the winger to score in the opposite corner. The visitors controlled the remaining ten minutes executing the basics exceptionally well and releasing their lively back line at every opportunity. More misery for the home side before the end of the half as first captain Phil Donaldson left the field with a blood injury and then lock Andy Simms left the field on a stretcher. A further Bedford score off yet another line out, made the half time score 0-24. 

Mansfield started the second period in determined fashion and were unlucky not to open their account when a forty third minute penalty came back off the post. The next ten minutes were all Mansfield with the home side enjoying both territorial and possession advantage but lacking the cutting edge to drive home their advantage. 

The pattern of the game was re-established on fifty five minutes when Bedford stole yet another Mansfield line out and ran the ball back down field to score under the posts. Undaunted by this set back the blue and whites took play back to Bedford with the Symcox brothers again to the fore, they were unable to convert pressure into points. 

On 65 minutes Bedford clear long from a defensive scrum, the ball is collected just inside his own half by John Ross Ward. Superb vision from Ward who spotted space behind the on rushing defence to place a pin point chip on to Bedford try line where Mansfield Ladies Man of the Match Scott Bailey was first to the ball to finally put Mansfield on to scoreboard. 

The good work was however immediately undone as from the restart Mansfield fail to gather the ball and Bedford recycle to touch down in the corner, score now 7-36.

Mansfield regrouped; a quickly taken penalty took them to within five metres of the visitors’ line where the forwards drove over, Joe Symcox emerging with the ball. The final word was to be Bedford's as with five minutes to go they are awarded a scrum on the Mansfield 22 and the best move of the game saw them score off first phase ball to make the final score 14-43. 

A frustrated Head Coach Neil Stent bemoaned the team’s inability to convert forward dominance at the set piece into points saying, “I’m disappointed so much of good work over the previous two weeks was undone, this was always going to be a tough game against a well drilled side who executed the basics well. We failed to execute our basics at all well which was always going to make things difficult for us”.

Mansfield travel to Belgrave this weekend with the Kick-off at 2:15pm. You can follow the action on Twitter, just go to @MansfieldRugby.

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