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Second Consecutive Win for Mansfield

Mansfield 20 - 13 Coalville

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015 07:35am
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Foster
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As a famous, if not slightly annoying, internet meme constantly points out: Winter is Coming. It certainly felt that way as a blustery, wet Eakring Road saw an improved Mansfield performance bring home the spoils in a tough, brutal affair. No less than seven yellow cards made the game something of a slugfest as neither team was allowed to settle into their stride before losing a man to the sin bin.

 

Mansfield just came up short of the fourth try to secure the bonus point. However they were happy to ensure victory in a game that saw Coach Wayne Robinson dust off his boots and produce a fine all round performance. Elated but exhausted Robinson’s reactions were, “I’m very happy with the win we would have liked that extra point. The boys dug deep and stuck at it and that’s all I can ask for.”

 

It truly was a game of two halves, a change of shirt by the referee also seemingly bringing about a change in temperament. The six yellow cards in the first half, most of which left the supporters of both teams slightly bemused, meant that both sides had to reshuffle and reorganise more often than they would have liked.

 

Coach Robinson’s return to the paddock this week was the catalyst for two other former First XV ‘retired’ stars in Rob Storey and Tom Newton to join in the fun. Newton played forty minutes last week too but this was Storey’s returning appearance after five years in retirement. Both produced performances that left Mansfield spectators wondering why they had retired!

 

Despite the conditions, both teams showed real attacking intentions, throwing the ball wide and breaking first up tackles. Mansfield were the first team on the board after an early penalty by Robinson sailed clear through the posts making the score 3-0 to the home team.

 

Coalville didn’t take that [censored] down and, after being awarded a free kick at a scrum, quickly tapped and went. Another infringement by Mansfield, this time not being 10 metres back, saw Coalville awarded a full penalty and them opting for the posts. 

 

Falling short, it was cleared up by Emmanuel Ogonude who then sprinted 40 metres before offloading to Storey to make his first impact. Eventually Coalville managed to turn the ball over with some great work at the breakdown and launched an equally thrilling counter attack. Both teams had turned up to play.

 

Coalville were building pressure through repeat phases, gaining momentum and inching closer to the Mansfield line. A piece of indiscretion on the floor saw Mansfield’s eventual Man of the Match Olly Stamford sent to the bin for 10 minutes with no warning given. Coalville gladly took the points to even up the game, 3-3.

 

A couple of penalties later and Coalville saw one of their own sent to the sin bin now. Mansfield went for the posts but the kick dropped short.

 

Matters took a worse turn for the away team as a second player was despatched to the bin shortly after. That saw their number reduced to thirteen and Mansfield took full advantage by spurning a chance of 3 points and opting for the lineout. Unfortunately, the ball was dropped but the resulting clearance for Coalville was charged down. Tom Key being alert enough to scoop up the loose ball and score the first try of the game. The conversion was missed but Mansfield had pulled into the lead at 8-3.

 

Unfortunately, the rest of the half would be a bit of a mixed bag for the home team. Ollie Stamford redeemed himself for the yellow card with a splendid try of his own to bring the score to 13-3 but then both Gareth Gripton and Coach Robinson were despatched to the bin for 10 minutes too in separate incidents. The half time scored stayed at 13-3.

 

The second half was a much different affair with the weather playing a bigger part. As an ominous low mist began to descend on the pitch, both teams thundered into each other with ferocity in an attempt to break what had become something of a stalemate. 

 

Coalville began to gain dominance in the scrum, with the home back row of Newton, Josh hall and new man Ash Stirland doing superbly well to tidy up and keep the momentum going. Desperate turnovers from both teams were keeping this largely centred on the middle of the park and the referee’s refusal to go to his pocket in the second stanza meant that happily play was allowed to flourish and phases to develop.

 

Storey crowned a successful return with a try of his own, Robinson slotting the conversion to take Mansfield to 20-8 in front, one try short of a valuable bonus point and putting Coalville just out of reach of a losing bonus point.

 

To their credit, Coalville dug deep and continued to apply pressure. The referee’s patience eventually wore thin and Lewis Cowlishaw was despatched to the sin bin for his break, this was the 7th yellow card in the game. The away team seized the opportunity and two phases later had secured the try they needed which bought them to within bonus point range. A successful conversion gave them that point and bought the score to 20-13.

 

The away team had an opportunity to steal a draw in the final few minutes but were stopped by a superb last ditch tackle from Joe Ducker and so they unable to successfully take advantage of the overlap. The final score remained at 20-13 giving the home team much needed, and confidence boosting, back to back win.

 

Next week Mansfield travel to Dronfield. You can follow the action on Twitter @Mansfield Rugby.

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