Mansfield breathed a collective sigh of relief at the final whistle on Saturday afternoon having picked up a vital bonus point victory with a 39-6 win.
against determined Belgrave.
The home side’s form has been patchy as of late, with players either missing through prior commitments or playing out of position.
However, this performance will surely bolster them and puts to bed the previous two losses.
Head coach Neil Stent was happy with the victory and said: “I was pleased with our effort and industry, especially keeping a tough Belgrave side to six points and not conceding a try.”
A bright and clear day meant we were on for some running rugby. However, as both teams were trying to build momentum it meant a lot of rugby was played in the middle of the park.
A transgression by Belgrave saw Mansfield win a penalty and the away side lose a man to the sin bin, punishment for having conceded three penalties in a row as Mansfield were gaining momentum.
This would be the first of four cards for team in red and black as their discipline cost them valuable field position.
The resulting shot at goal was missed, but Mansfield regained the ball from the restart and built some good pressure.
Belgrave were unable to cope and the home team recorded their first try for a 5-0 lead.
As with large parts of the season, Mansfield’s discipline cost field position and momentum, allowing Belgrave an opportunity back into the game shortlftey ar the restart as the visitors cut the gap to 5-3.
At this point the teams seemed pretty even, industriousness all round lead to most of the game being played in the middle of the park, the odd dart either side soon stopped by committed defence from both sides. Belgrave began to edge the scrum, disrupting Mansfield ball and making it harder to attack.
But attack Mansfield did, a lineout from a penalty allowed Mansfield to build pressure.
Eventually, the pressure told as Aiden McGregor skilfully evaded three defenders to register the home team’s second try to give Mansfield a 12-3 lead.
Belgrave were not going to back down and a brace of penalties saw them cut into Mansfield’s lead to 12-6.
The game’s momentum swung again, and Mansfield were back in the ascendency as Joe Symcox burrowed over to extend the lead once again to make it 19-6.
The lead was exstended to 22-6 at half-time following another successful penatly.
The second half began with a bonus point try for the rugby purists. Mansfield won an early penalty and opted for touch. A Lineout on the 22m line saw the home form a maul and then, like a steam-powered locomotive, chugged their way 20 metres to the line.
Joe Symcox emerged from the sea of bodies to claim the score and make it 27-6.
The blue-and-whites scored again after they raced upfield allowing McGregor to score under the posts to make it 34-6.
The remaining 15 minutes saw a lot of action, some good; some bad. Belgrave saw a second player sent to the sin bin, this time for a deliberate knock on.
And Mansfield took advantage of the one man advantage with Andy Simms benefiting from another Mansfield drive to score and bring the final score to 39-6.
This was a much more cohesive than previous weeks, but there were still some unforced errors.
This is a team that are now playing to ensure they stay in this league and must take as many points as they can from the remaining fixtures of the season.
Next week Mansfield travel to Bugbrooke, you can follow the action on Twitter @MansfieldRugby.