Mansfield RUFC returned from Lincolnshire on Saturday with a hard-earned and much-deserved losing bonus point, in a 15-8 defeat to Grimsby.
Given a first half where Grimsby dominated territory and possession, it was to their credit that the blue and whites not only didn’t crack but moreover came away with something for their efforts.
Forwards coach Dave Roberts, standing in for head coach Wayne Robinson, said: “It was hard for us to get a hold on the game as their pack were very good and secured plenty of ball, but I’m really pleased at the way the lads stuck to the task and the least we deserved was the bonus point.”
The home forwards did indeed have a fine afternoon with their Number 8 leading the way impressively. With so much possession early on it was only going to be a matter of time before the pressure told.
Although Mansfield defended valiantly throughout there was no answer to a perfectly executed catch and drive from a lineout on the 15-minute mark which put the home side 7-0 up.
A great deal of play following that first score centred around the midfield area and although the visitors couldn’t get their hands on much quality ball their defence was superb.
Not only were the pack working overtime in defence, fly half Alex Miles produced a man of the match performance with a particularly impressive defensive display.
It wasn’t until the allotted 40 minutes had ended that the possession Grimsby enjoyed in the first half paid dividends again, with their second try of the game bringing the score to 12-0.
Mansfield were determined to make a mark and in the fifth-minute of injury time an impressive forward drive resulted in a resurgent Mike Wallace emerging from the bodies to claim the five points making the score 12-5.
Mansfield started the second half in earnest with much more intent and vigour and the pressure they exerted was rewarded with a penalty after just minutes as Alex Miles clawed the score to 12-8.
Although the home side had the edge in the scrum, the visitors dominated the lineout making numerous timely steals.
Grimsby are not third in the league on luck and they struck back just two minutes later with a penalty of their own to cancel out the recent blue and whites score, as it finished 15-8 at full time.
Mansfield host league leaders Lincoln this weekend (2.15pm kick off).