Mansfield Seal Sixth County Cup Win

Last Updated: May 7, 2014 04:56pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Miles
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Mansfield 1st XV’s season reached its conclusion with the Nottinghamshire Cup Final against local rivals Paviors played at Newark.

Perfect conditions greeted the two sides who were both looking to finish in style what can best be described as indifferent seasons. The fixture held added significance for the Mansfield coaching duo of Steve Shaw and Keith Calladine as it was to be their final game; surely a win was the fitting finale?

Paviors got proceedings underway, the evergreen Wayne Robinson took responsibility and Jonno Williams cleared long to the Paviors Full Back who fluffed his lines. An early engage gave Paviors a free kick from the scrum who showed early attacking intent with a quick tap crossing half-way where Mansfield were again penalised for being offside. A majestic strike from the Paviors scrum half bisected the posts, 3-0 to Pavs and less than a minute on the clock.

Paviors again showed ambition running back the restart to halfway, earning another penalty as Mansfield held back the winger. A scrappy line out is tidied up by Will Limb on the ground but no advantage is forthcoming for a Paviors knock on. This time Paviors are penalised at scrum-time for not driving straight, Williams clears.

Phil Donaldson takes the line out and offloads to a rampaging Alan Symcox who in turn takes play to the Paviors 22 earning a penalty as the tackler fails to roll away. Williams slots the three points to level the scores, four minutes played.

The next ten minutes are played out in the middle third with the occasion seemingly taking over as both sides make basics errors. On fourteen minutes Mansfield win a line out on their own ten metre line, Williams breaks and makes ground to halfway only for the ball to be turned over at the breakdown. Paviors show more adventure, winger Jonty Green cutting through the defence before off-loading to Tom Chalkley who scored out wide. A superbly struck conversion made the score 10-3 to Paviors.

Paviors were now starting to dominate particularly in the scrum and were unlucky not to extend their lead when they charged down a clearance only to then knock on with a clear overlap out wide. On 27 minutes Mansfield had a chance to close the gap when Paviors were penalised for jumping across the line out but on this occasion the usually reliable boot of Williams pushed the kick wide of the posts.

Alan Symcox claimed the restart and battered his way deep in Paviors territory before offloading to Jonno Colley who in turn was halted short of the try line. The ball was recycled quickly and passed along the line releasing winger Bobby Ogunode only for the final pass to be correctly ruled forward.

Mansfield made a change in the front row with Danny Ellis replacing Ian Coleman but this did nothing to reverse the fortunes of the Mansfield eight with Paviors dominating. On 35 minutes the referee lost patience with the Mansfield pack as another indiscretion resulted in a yellow card for Liam Grant. Paviors took full advantage, another excellent kick at goal extending their lead to 13-3.

Mansfield had the opportunity to narrow the gap straight from the restart as Paviors illegally block the kick chasers but again Williams pushed his kick wide, the remainder of the half was played out in midfield.

Mansfield needed to improve in the second period; Josh Hall replaced Andy Simms in the second row. Williams kicked off and immediately Paviors are penalised for coming in at the side at the breakdown, Williams rediscovered his kicking boots to close the gap to seven points. With the sin bin over Sam Johnson replaced Chester Scott at Hooker.

Mansfield were now growing in confidence, an interception by Ogunode takes play to the Paviors 22 where Adam Shaw kicks through the loose ball and Paviors knock on. Paviors once again disrupt the scrum and clear their lines. On 55 minutes Symcox picks off the base of the scrum and releases Shaw who in turn puts Ash Wills through. Once again the Paviors defence holds firm but the blue and whites recycle quick ball and Williams breaks before offloading to Rich Donaldson hitting the line at speed only to be halted agonisingly short. A yellow card for the Paviors eight resulted but more concern for Mansfield as Williams leaves the field to be replaced by John Ross Ward.

With the pressure now building on the Paviors line Mansfield had another penalty ten metres out, a quick tap puts Wills into space who is halted just short but he manages to off load to Johnson coming round the corner who touches down next to the posts. Ward is successful with the conversion, the scores are now level at the mid way point of the half.

Mansfield now in the ascendancy, Symcox claims the restart on his own 22 and Wills takes it on to half way. Ogunode continues the move and good interplay between forwards and backs takes play deep into Paviors territory where Adam Shaw breaks the line to score, Ward adds the extras and Mansfield lead 20-13.

With the large crowd now in full voice it was all to play for in the last 15 minutes, the atmosphere was electric. Both sides continued to probe with the Mansfield back row pair of Donaldson and Limb edging it at the breakdown.

On 72 minutes Paviors again win another scrum penalty then fail to find touch, Ogunode gathers and carries deep into opposition territory, a knock on at the breakdown gives Paviors the scrum put in. Ball secured Paviors release their backs, only a great tackle by Wills halts the attack. Paviors recycle but more great work from Donaldson draws the penalty.

Williams now restored to the fray, clears long but the line out throw is ruled not straight, Paviors win a penalty from the scrum and push the ball deep into the Mansfield 22 setting up a driving maul which Mansfield halt illegally, a yellow card for Donaldson and eight minutes left on the clock.

Paviors push the ball into the corner, in a carbon copy of the previous play set up a driving maul, this time success and the try is scored in the corner. With the difference now two points a successful conversion will level the scores but the previously imperious boot of the Paviors kicker pushes a difficult kick agonisingly left of the posts.

With the clock showing 40 minutes played the referee indicates 5 minutes remaining, it was everything to play for and Mansfield still a man down. Paviors claim the restart and make good progress but the blue and white defence was not conceding anything. As the decibel level and tension rose Paviors ran everything to exploit their numerical advantage but were continually repelled by a resolute and determined defensive effort.

With play on half way the referee brought an end to proceedings and Mansfield claimed a record 19th and sixth consecutive County Cup win. This was a thrilling end to a great game played in good spirit and proved to be the perfect way for coaches Shaw and Calladine to sign off.


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