Mansfield give unbeaten champions a run for their money

Action from Mansfield's last match of the season against champions, Nottingham Casuals.
Action from Mansfield's last match of the season against champions, Nottingham Casuals.

Afetr saving themselves from relegation the previous week, Mansfield ended their season on a positive note with an encouraging performance against unbeaten champions, Nottingham Casuals.

Although they fell to a 52-26 defeat, the blue-and-whites played well for large parts of the game and at least picked up a try bonus point.

They have finished ninth in the 12-team Midlands 3 East (North) division of the National League, but they have lost no fewer than seven games by a single score and five by just one point.

Head coach Wayne Robinson said he was pleased with the way his side acquitted themselves aghainst a Casuals team who have won all 21 of their fixtures and top the table by a massive 23 points.

He said: “I thought our performance deserved more. I am happy with how we played in parts, although we did give away a couple of soft tries and they really took the wind out of our sails.”

Mansfield started with no respect for the visitors’ record and surged into a 7-0 lead thanks to a try by Harry Brough and a conversion by Taran Elms.

Casuals hit back with three tries of their own to lead 24-7 at half-time, but the hosts kept fighting and a converted try from Kian Johnson cut the deficit to 24-14.

Next came the giveaway scores that enabled Casuals to ensure victory. But, inspired by man-of-the-match Conway Evans, Mansfield kept the board ticking over as Brough struck again and Phil Pogmore bagged their fourth try late on.