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Mansfield 46 - 12 Bakewell Mannerians

Mansfield Take The Spoils

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2016 09:14pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Phil Foster
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What a difference a week makes. Having gone down to a 60 point loss last week, Mansfield picked themselves and secured 5 valuable points in a re-arranged fixture as the end of the season comes more into view. 

On the day that the club was to celebrate its 60 year anniversary, head coach, Wayne Robinson, was pleased with the way the team performed: “We did a lot of reflection over the last week and this is the performance we really need. To come away with 5 points was th4 plan and all we could ask for.”

At times, it was clear this was a game played between two teams occupying the bottom two places in the league. A frenetic game where only the maximum of 5 points would do, both teams turned over a lot of ball as they vied for dominance. Sometimes, it was hard to keep up with who had the ball as it would bounce back and forth between the teams with alarming regularity.

The first half saw Mansfield build the platform that would allow them to break free later on. An early penalty, within kicking range, was put into the corner, a decision that raised some murmuring from the Eakring Road faithful. However, those frowns were turned upside down as Josh Hall scored the first of his hat-trick from the resulting lineout. A difficult conversion was missed by fly half John-Ross Ward but the first of the required 4 tries had been secured, the home team lead 5-0. 

However, Bakewell were not to be undone. A period of scrappy play saw the away team awarded a scrum, from which they tore through the Mansfield defence and scored an impressive try of their own. A conversion much simpler than Mansfield’s saw them take the lead 7-5. 

The next score came courtesy of winger Joe Ducker. The blue-and-whites managed to put some phases together off the back of a dominant scrum and, as has been a more regular sight over recent weeks, Ducker danced his way to the line. A much easier conversion was slotted by Ward and Mansfield were back in the lead 12-7. 

Bakewell very nearly added to their tally very shortly after, if not for a wonderful try saving tackle from the impressive Mark Wallace. A display of speed and agility from the flanker that showed Mansfield were not going to let this game slip away.  

The remainder of the half was characterised by two words: fragmented and fractured. While both teams tried to assert dominance and, to their credit, play open, running rugby, neither could really keep hold of the ball. A yellow card for Shaun Morgan on the stroke of half time was not the way the home team wanted the half to end, but at least they were in the lead. 

The second half saw Mansfield really put some distance between the two sides. As Bakewell seemed to tire, and with coach Robinson’s ‘encouraging’ half time team talk still ringing in their ears, the home team managed to build on their lead and ultimately secured the full 5 points they so desperately wanted. 

Josh Hall capped another superb afternoon by scoring two more to tries complete his hat-trick, powering through the away defence to ensure Mansfield’s number on the score board kept ticking over. His back row colleague Ash Stirland continued his run of form with a bullocking run of his own, beating numerous defenders and dotting down for the first of his two second half tries. Youngster Jack Sibecko was the beneficiary of good Mansfield phase play to score another try to add to his growing tally. 

Some looose play from Bakewell saw Joe Ducker hoof the ball upfield, perhaps more in hope than judgement, and then win the footrace outpacing two Bakewell defenders to dive on the ball and register a brace of this own. Stirland wrapped up the try tally with a drive from a lineout also grabbing a brace of tries making eight tries for the team, one of the biggest tallies of the season. Two conversions from youngster Ryan Haywood who impressed after coming off the bench with a confident performance as replacement for Ward saw the final tally reach 46 points. 

Mansfield were now able to put phases together when it mattered taking advantage of a growing confidence in the team. While Ash Stirland, Josh Hall and Joe Ducker took the spoils they were joined by Emmanuel Ogunode, Gareth Gripton and Danny Ellis in the engine room helping to set up field position and securing possession that allowed tries to be scored. Man of the Match Mark Wallace in particular was imperious. If there was a ruck formed then chances are he was in the middle of it doing a lot of unseen work that the blue-and-whites could build a platform from. 

Bakewell didn’t lie down and to their credit the final say belonged to them. A well worked period of possession saw them break through the home side’s defence and register their second try. A tricky conversion was missed bringing the final score to 46-12 and victory for the home team. 

Although Mansfield moved up one place they aren’t out of the danger zone yet and travel to Market Bosworth this week. You can follow the action of Twitter @MansfieldRugby.

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