Mansfield seal thriller with last kick of match

Not until the very last kick of the game could Mansfield RUFC seal a dramatic victory after a tense and exciting contest at home to Buxton.

Monday, 30th January 2017, 10:27 am
Updated Monday, 30th January 2017, 10:31 am
Action from Mansfields thrilling 28-26 victory at home to Buxton on Saturday.
Action from Mansfields thrilling 28-26 victory at home to Buxton on Saturday.

The pendulum swing this way and that during the afternoon as the lead changed hands many times between the two National League, Midlands 3 East (North) division mid-tablers.

But as a firecracker of a match approached the final whistle, Mansfield hung on to the spoils 28-26. A dropped ball by Buxton was hacked through by an energised counter-attack from the blue-and-whites, who won a penalty. And a deft kick into touch was all that was needed to close out the action.

The result delighted head coach Wayne Robinson, who was also named joint man-of-the-match, alongside Gareth Gripton. Robinson praised the resilience his side showed in the final period and added: “In the past, we’ve lost this type of encounter, so I’m proud of the way the boys fronted up and took the chances that were on offer.”

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Neither team was willing to give an inch, but it was Mansfield who drew first blood when well-worked possession led to Sam Holmes going over the try-line. Buxton were in no mood to let that ruffle their feathers, and they re-gathered to score 12 points of their own thanks to two tries, one of which was converted. But by half-time, the Eakring Road outfit had cut the deficit to just one thanks to two penalties from Steve Mower.

The second half started with an immediate advantage to Mansfield when a visiting player was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes for foul play. They duly cashed in, keeping hold of the ball and setting up a driving maul that led to scrum-half Mower scoring a try that he himself converted to create a lead of 18-12.

Fired up, Buxton came back again to edge ahead 19-18. But Mansfield responded once more to lead 23-19 as Robinson floated a mesmeric, perfectly-timed pass into the welcoming arms of Ollie Stanford, who sprinted to the line.

Amazingly, the visitors rallied to regain the advantage as a pick and go from the base of the scrum saw them run 40 metres, untouched, to score directly under the posts. But 26-23 down and staring defeat in the face, Mansfield produced one last winning try as Robinson grabbed the ball from the base of a maul to dive over the line.

Mansfield’s next league game is at Chesterfield on Saturday, February 11.