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Victory Denied in League Season finale

Nottingham Casuals 36 - 12 Mansfield

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2016 08:45pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Sports Reporter
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This was really the case of four seasons in one day. Within the space of 80 minutes the game commenced in beautiful warm spring sunshine, then endured a freezing shower of rain and hailstones accompanied by gale-force winds which turned the pitch into a treacherous white carpet and was then followed by yet more sunshine! 

Coach Wayne Robinson said, ‘Despite our best effort we weren’t good enough on the day. Casuals played well and deserved their win’. 

As for the game itself Mansfield battled gamely and spiritedly in their yellow away colours against strong Nottingham counterparts and competed determinedly throughout defending fiercely and effectively for the most part. 

Mansfield opened the game in a purposeful manner only to be caught by a strong Casuals counter attack on 10 minutes whereby a Casuals centre crashed over for an unconverted try. Mansfield almost retaliated immediately only just being stopped short of the try line.  

A period of Casuals pressure ensued and was only relieved when Mansfield’s No 10 cleared his own lines with an excellent kick to touch. The home sides went further ahead on the 20 minute mark when they took advantage of a charged down kick and ran in an opportunistic converted try from just inside the halfway bringing the score to 12 – 0. 

After 25 minutes the combatants were treated to the intense shower of hailstones which threatened to obliterate the pitch markings and a good move from Mansfield only ended when Ash Stirland, who had his usual fine game, was unfortunate to knock on in what were now very testing conditions. 

Another breakaway try on 35 minutes followed when a hacked through kick sat up nicely for a well taken try close to the posts. Somewhat surprisingly the conversion hit the post when it seemed easier to register the points. 

With the score 17 – 0 at half time in appreciably quieter conditions in the second half Joe Ducker who had an impressive game made an excellent foray into the Casuals half only to be stopped short on the 22. However a determined Casuals onslaught followed with a try on 55 minutes duly converted made it 24- 0 and further misery for Mansfield followed on 60 minutes when a breakaway Casuals try increased their deserved lead to 29 - 0. Casuals were not going to allow Mansfield to rescue their disappointing season in the last league game. 

A trademark try saving tackle by the impressive Ducker on 65 minutes saved a certain further score and a penalty try awarded to Casuals on 70 minutes following a Mansfield transgression ended the Casual’s scoring for the day.

However just when it appeared Mansfield’s substantial endeavours would go unrewarded Josh Hall who had been a thorn in the Casual’s side for the entire game crashed over with most of Nottingham on his back. 

A further excellent break from Ducker who showed a swift turn of speed to elude the Casual’s defence on 80 minutes brought a converted try which was some consolation for Mansfield’s team efforts against a strong well organised Casuals team. The whistle was blown to mark the end of a game well contested by both sides with Casuals the deserved victors. 

Mansfield are in Notts Cup action this weekend when they travel to Nottingham Moderns. KO is 2.30pm and you can follow the action on Twitter, just go to @MansfieldRugby.

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