Blue and whites left to rue one that got away

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Mansfield 1sts saw a second potential losing bonus point slip away as they went down 35-24 at home to Birstall in an even match where both sides tried to run the ball.

Early Birstall pressure in the scrum, something they would continue to dominate for much of the game, saw them build decent possession and territory to set up the first converted try.

Mansfield replied from a lineout drive at a penalty, with Emmanuel Ogunode forcing his way over from powerful forward pressure. Fly half Harry Brough kicked the conversion.

Scores were traded again as a mesmeric run by Andreas Zacharia, in good form all afternoon, led to pressure and Steve Repton scoring under the posts after a fine dummy.

Harry Brough added the conversion to level.

In the second half, Birstall claimed two further tries to build a 14-point lead.

Mansfield fought back with two tries of their own from Zacharia, after another terrific run, and Ogunode’s second following powerful running.

That claimed a try bonus point, but both conversions were missed to leave the home side trailing 28-24.

The visitors then scored a long-distance converted try to put the chance of a losing bonus point out of reach for Mansfield.