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Mansfield 39 Paviors 19

Mansfield Secure First League Win in Emphatic Style

Last Updated: Oct 8, 2013 02:54pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Foster
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This victory not only signalled a change in fortunes for Mansfield but was made all the more significant as it was the day that the Eakring Road club inaugurated long time servant of the club Byron Edwards as the new Club President.

In a repeat of the Notts County Cup final played back in May between two old rivals, again, Mansfield took the spoils against the NLD Champions in a game that showed the best of both teams.

The visitors set the pace and the agenda right from the start. With five minutes played Mansfield had barely touched the ball and were forced to defend against an early rally that resulted in a well taken Paviors try in the corner after the ball had been recycled several times.

Paviors kept up the pressure and although the AIPS Man of the Match Jonathan Williams did his best to keep them at bay with several excellent kicks out of defence they just kept coming. The inevitable happened with eleven minutes of play recorded as the visiting backs transferred the ball sweetly down the line to cross again adding an excellent conversion to bring the score to 12 nil.

Although Mansfield had a penalty attempt that just sailed wide it was the visitors who provided all the action for the first half an hour. Then three things happened in quick succession to turn the game.

Firstly, Jonathan Williams did not miss with his second penalty attempt giving his side a much needed 3 points. Secondly with 37 minutes played the Paviors Winger was despatched to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle and thirdly just 5 minutes later on the stroke of half time Mansfield Scored their first try. From a lineout in the red zone Centre Ash Wills, in his first full game for a year, broke through to feed the ball to improving youngster Jack Parr who crashed over in the corner providing Jonathan Williams with an impressive touchline conversion. The official signalled for half time leaving Paviors with a slender lead of 12 points to 10.

The confidence that was evident at the end of last week’s game was starting to seep through now in everything the home side did. As the second half progressed, the visitors, who had thus far looked dangerous with the ball in hand, appeared to discard their previously successful policy of moving the ball out wide quickly in favour of a tighter forward orientated game. However, with solid defence from the home tight five it was always going to be hard to break through.

This allowed Scrum Half Adam Shaw to play his preferred game by sniping at every opportunity keeping the visiting back row in check. With 8 minutes played Jonathan Williams broke out from his 22 to feed Jack Parr, who beat two defenders, to feed Adam Shaw on the inside to cross for a converted try bringing the score to 17-12.

The change in attitude was palpable with Mansfield’s confidence growing by the minute as they discovered some self belief again after a long hard season in national three. With just 12 minutes played Joe Symcox broke down the blind side from a scrum to feed Adam Shaw who put Ash Wills through for his first try of the afternoon.

With the score at 22-12 to the home side the game entered the final quarter as Josh Hall gathered the ball from a restart and broke through to feed the ball to Jonathan Williams. He stepped his way past three defenders in a spectacular individual effort to cross for the bonus point try and his first of the season as the scoreboard now read 27-12.   

However, this was a local derby and you write off Paviors at your peril and so it proved as they struck back with an excellent try of their own almost immediately after a glimpse of back line play that had dominated their early efforts. With the score at 27-19 it made for an interesting last 15 minutes.

Ash Wills exorcised his last 12 months of anguish and injury with 10 minutes to go by delivering a trademark score. Gliding through out wide he took advantage of some excellent forward work led, as always by Skipper Phil Donaldson, assisted by Josh Hall, Chester Scott and the versatile Alan Symcox switching from centre to No 8. 

With time almost up the try of the game came as Jonathan Williams started a French style breakout from under his own posts which ended in a length of the field effort for Adam Shaw who dotted down under the posts for his second score which capped an excellent personal performance. Williams converted to bring the final score to 39-19 and the blue & whites first league win of the season finished in emphatic style.

Mansfield travel to Peterborough this weekend and you can follow the action on Twitter, just go to @MansfieldRugby.

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