It was an afternoon to remember in more ways than one when Mansfield beat Sileby Town 35-27 in the Midlands 3 East (North) division of the National League on Saturday.
With Remembrance Sunday the following day, it was a fitting fixture to include a pre-match parade by the local branch of the Royal British Legion, which is fast becoming an annual staple for the club.
And then the team topped off the day with a sparkling performance, containing five tries, three of which were scored by Zane Chiappetta, and yielding a bonus point against their tenacious and determined Leicestershire visitors. It means they now sit seventh in the 12-team table.
Head coach Wayne Robinson said he was pleased with the display, adding: “It was a tough day, with a slippery ball and a heavy pitch, but we managed things well, and I was happy to come away with a win.”
The heavy surface showed lasting signs of the rain that been falling for most of the week. But the weather was dry and calm, and the early exchanges belonged to mansfield, who punched holes in the opposition’s territory.
Chiappetta, who shared man-of-the-match honours with Harry Brough, opened the scoring with a nice try on the outside, converted by Taran Elms, and although Sileby responded with a try of their own, it was soon 21-5 to the hosts.
First, good interplay between the backs and a lovely inside pass allowed Chiappetta to strike again, and then a Sileby mistake led to a Mansfield counter-attack in which Rob Marsden weaved his way through the visiting defence to score. Both were converted by Elms.
To their credit, Sileby refused to roll over and their intensely physical approach paid off when they cut the deficit to 21-12 by half-time thanks to a try from a scrum, followed by a conversion.
The visitors started the second period with similar intensity, but it was Mansfield who got the scoreboard ticking over again when Brough recovered a loose ball and ran 45 metres left to the tryline.
Another conversion made it 28-12, but again Sileby responded gamely, adding ten points through two unconverted tries, the first from repeated pressure and the second from a 40-metre break.
It was still all to play for, but Chiappetta completed his hat-trick, followed by another conversion, and with time running out, Sileby’s deft final try came too late to deny the home side their victory.