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Mansfield Lose Their Way

Mansfield 0 - 43 Bugbrooke

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2014 04:49pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Miles
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A foggy autumnal day greeted Bugbrooke to Eakring Road on Saturday, although a heavy downpour immediately prior to kick off did help to lift the gloom that was as bright as it was to get for the blue and whites, it was to be the visitors who left with a six try victory. 

This performance left Senior Coach Neil Stent somewhat bemused as he commented, “we are all disappointed with what was a lack lustre performance in many ways. Credit to the visitors for taking their chances particularly in the first half which effectively killed the game but we know that we are a better side than this game suggested”.

Playing up the incline Mansfield elected to receive the ball from the kick off immediately winning a penalty as the visitors handled the ball on the floor. Line out ball secured John Ross Ward kicked through but this gave the lively Bugbrooke backs a chance to run the ball back. This time it was Mansfield’s turn to concede a penalty in the tackle which the visitors cleared up-field to the home side’s twenty two. 

A scrum from the resultant line out gives the visitors another penalty as this time Mansfield are penalised for not driving straight, three points gratefully accepted. 

If the first five minutes were a cagey affair with both sides wrestling for the upper hand, the next ten minutes were to be no different. The game was generally played out in the middle third of the field with perhaps the dank, slippery conditions winning the day making for a stop start game littered with handling errors. 

If anything it was Bugbrooke who were adapting better to the conditions and looking the more likely to break the deadlock whilst at the same time not threatening a determined blue and white defence. 

The game changed on fifteen minutes when Bugbrooke were awarded a five metre scrum, a pick up from the base resulted in a score under the posts. The score gave the visitors renewed vigour who went on to dominate the game for the next ten minutes, running in two further scores. Firstly returning the restart to score out wide and then poor defence at the breakdown allowing the opposition scrum half to run in unopposed, 0-3 after five minutes and an even game was now 0-24 midway through the half. 

The remainder of the half reverted to type with neither team able to capitalise on possession as the fog once again descended. On 35 minutes Mansfield believed they had got themselves on the scoreboard as winger Scott Bailey appeared to beat the retreating defender to the loose ball only for the referee to adjudge both players had in fact knocked the ball on, awarding an attacking five metre scrum. The only other notable event in the half was a yellow card for the visitors on the stroke of half time for indiscriminate use of the boot at the ruck. This gave Mansfield renewed hope for the start of the second period. 

The blue and whites did start the second period in determined fashion immediately regaining the ball from the kick off, only a last ditch tackle on Danny Ellis rampaging down the blind side halting progress. The forwards took the game to Bugbrooke with the Symcox brothers and, Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies Man of the Match, Liam Grant to the fore continually making inroads into a resolute visiting defence. Despite having the possession advantage the home side lacked the cutting edge to trouble the scoreboard.

Restored to full numbers the visitors had weathered the storm and gradually worked their way back into the game which was to change again on 56 minutes with a yellow card for home winger Bobby Ogunode for an infringement in the red zone. The visitors took full advantage scoring two further tries to make the score 0-36 after 65 minutes. 

With time running out and the fog increasing in density, there was to be one last twist in the game. A charge down from a clearing kick sent the ball into the Mansfield dead ball area for replacement full back Alex Miles who appeared to clearly touch down ahead of the attacking player for a 22 restart. The match official saw it differently however and awarded the visitors a try making the final score 0-43.

The blue and whites must re-group quickly as the squad visit local rivals Derby next weekend who themselves are experiencing a similar indifferent season to Mansfield; you can follow the action @MansfieldRugby

 

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