Mansfield RUFC’s never-say-die attitude made Midlands 3 East (North) leaders Lincoln work hard for a 45-8 victory that ended the visitors’ four-match winning streak.
Mansfield made several changes to the side that had defeated Nottingham Moderns 15-14 in the Intermediate County Cup the previous week, thanks to a late Sam Holmes try.
Coach Wayne Robinson said: “We had plenty of territory and possession as well as more than making a mark at the scrum.
“But their pace out wide was impressive and we couldn’t cope with that.”
Lincoln have created fine new facilities at Lodge Lane after a move from the city centre, but recent wet weather left a heavy pitch.
Nevertheless, it took the home side — beaten only once in 16 league matches this season — just eight minutes to score their first try from a turnover ball just short of the Mansfield line.
John Ross Ward replied with a penalty shortly to make it 7-3.
The next half hour was even in terms of territory, possession and commitment, but Lincoln’s quick wide proved the difference.
When the ball was shipped to the flanks, the Blue And Whites had no answer as the home team chalked up two more tries before half time to lead 21-3 at the break.
A spilled ball in defence was quickly snapped up and converted into a bonus point try for Lincoln four minutes into the second half.
A further home score followed at the end of the third quarter to extend Lincoln’s lead to 33-7.
Although Mansfield continued to have plenty of the ball, the home side defended well and took their chances ruthlessly in the face of constant pressure from the visitors.
Biding their time, Lincoln’s patience paid off as they were able to move the ball wide for the quick men to again score, producing three further tries before the final whistle.
However, it was Mansfield who had the final say as their perseverance paid off.
They had taken control of the scrums towards the end of the game and waves of forward drives eventually yielded a try.
It was scored by lock Bruce Arnold who, together with the entire forward pack, had an excellent afternoon.
The result left Mansfield fifth with 35 points, while Lincoln march on at the top with 69 points.
The Blue And Whites have won seven and drawn one of their 15 league outings.
On Saturday, Mansfield travel to eighth-placed Sleaford, kick-off 3pm.