A big local derby between Ashfield and Mansfield lived up to its reputation as a thrilling and compelling encounter, providing spectators with a real treat.
But after a tense and uncompromising spectacle, Ashfield came out on top, 25-20, to avenge their defeat against the same opponents at Eakring Road in October.
The victory maintained Ashfield’s tremendous season and kept them in second place in the Midlands 3 East (North) division of the National League, albeit 21 points behind the leaders.
Mansfield sit a further 21 points adrift in sixth, and coach Wayne Robinson had few complaints about the outcome. He said: “We knew it would be a tough. I thought both sides played well for long periods. It was a good game of rugby and we had our chances to win.”
Mansfield certainly had their chance to draw because, with the final play of the match, Richard Lindsay crashed through a tackle and over the line. At first, the referee appeared to award the try but then changed his mind, deeming the ball to have been held up.
Had the try been given, it would have completed a superb fightback by the blue-and-whites, for whom all seemed lost when they trailed 20-3. A try by Bobby Ogunode, a penalty try and kicked points from Regan Hubbard hauled them level in the second half before Ashfield dealt the killer blow on a break.