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Stamford 62 - 8 Mansfield

Red Card Makes Mansfield Job Harder

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2016 05:40pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Sports Reporter
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An already difficult task was made even harder when Mansfield Centre Isaac Bailey was shown a red card just before half time. It would be harsh to blame the youngster for the final outcome, having displayed a passionate response in the heat of the moment, but with a man short gaps in defence and overlaps are certainly easier to come by. 

Coach Wayne Robinson was circumspect and commented, “We knew this was going to be a tough game and although we were outgunned, to the players’ credit, we stuck at it for the full eighty minutes”. 

Indeed West Bridgford signalled their intent from the start with a well taken try after just four minutes. Mansfield struggled to get into the game early on and securing good passion was something of a premium. 

However, having eventually eked out some decent field position the home side coughed up a penalty or two and John Ross Ward slotted one after 17 minutes to bring the score to 5-3. 

Although Bridgford had most of the play Mansfield defended really well at this stage and it was another 20 minutes before the home side extended their lead to 12-3 with a try. Even after adding another penalty to make the score 15-3 the visitors were still well and truly in this game as the 40 minute half time mark approached. 

Unfortunately the sending off at 41 minutes was followed swiftly by another try which meant the blue & whites went into the break at 20 points to 3 with a man short. It is also unfortunate that the official didn’t witness the first incident. Having being the victim of a neck roll after which the offending player refused to let his grip go and the youngster showed his inexperience by flailing punches in frustration. The Referee having seen only this element of the incident had no choice and made the correct decision by issuing the red card.  

The home side started the second half as they had done the first with a superbly taken try to stretch their lead to 27-3. Despite this Mansfield still had a go back and after ten minutes the excellent Josh Hall, who had another fine afternoon, crossed for Mansfield’s only try of the afternoon after a good deal of forward pressure. 

As we approached the final quarter the inevitable started to unfold as West Bridgford made their numerical advantage count and putting together some lovely moves they managed to register a further four tries. Given the way they were finished meant close proximity to the posts was guaranteed and so the conversion points were easily added to each score which brought about the final painful tally for the visitors. 

There’s no doubt that there will be lessons learnt from this outing and although West Bridgford were certainly the better side and deserved winners, Mansfield will take some comfort from the fact that so many youngsters are gaining valuable experience. Despite the result, many of them are unrecognisable from just a few weeks ago showing greater confidence and self-belief, all of which bodes well for the future. 

Mansfield’s game this weekend is the rearranged game against Bakewell who failed to field a team for the regular fixture scheduled in February. Kick-off is 3pm. You can follow the action on Twitter, just go to @MansfieldRugby.

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