Ashfield come out on top on local derby day with Mansfield

Ashfield came out on top in Saturday's big Midlands 3 East (North) local derby with a 29-9 victory over rivals Mansfield, writes Chris Allen.

Monday, 28th March 2022, 11:02 am
Derby day lineout action as Ashfield beat Mansfield.
Derby day lineout action as Ashfield beat Mansfield.

With bright sunshine the setting couldn't have been better for derby day and the atmosphere quickly built as spectators of both sides awaited kick-off – and the game didn't disappoint.

It started fast with both sides testing the waters and Ashfield pushing Mansfield back into their own 22.

Strong ball carries from Houseman, Heald and Chapman caused Mansfield problems, but they soaked this up and looked to attack themselves.

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However, a misplaced pass was intercepted by Jones who scored under the posts to open Ashfield's account, though the conversion was missed.

Mansfield came back into the game, pressing Ashfield's defence which was rock solid, led by Lang in the centres.

Mansfield did pull back three points from a penalty.

But then came a turning point in the game with a big let-off for Ashfield.

Mansfield broke the defensive line and they were over the try line but forgot to ground the ball before running dead.

This flicked a switch in Ashfield and big ball carries from Heald, Lang and Richardson got Ashfield back in front of the posts with a penalty, converted by Lang.

This brought Mansfield on again, but great defensive work both out in the backs and at the breakdown by Reeves and Rees forced a fumbled ball.

Pressure from Lang resulted in Jones picking up the ball and finishing under the posts again, converted by Lang.

Mansfield stayed in touch with two more penalties in the first half. The second half started with both teams pushing for the edge and ill discipline from Ashfield resulted in the second of four yellow cards. Ashfield were down to 13 men, but their resolute defence still stopped Mansfield at source.

They were throwing everything at Ashfield, but couldn't cross the line. Turnover ball was moved quickly out wide and Childs was away, beating defenders for fun and crashing over the line, converted by Lang.

Mansfield were now deflated and the game became niggly.

Once Ashfield were back up to full numbers, they forced the bonus point try as quick interplay between forwards and backs saw quick ball from Summerland to Jones, whose offload in contact sent Richardson crashing over under the posts, once again converted by Lang.

It was a fourth win in a row for Ashfield and left them 10th in the Midlands 3 East (North) table with Mansfield up in fifth

Ashfield II went to Mansfield and in a hard-fought high-scoring game were beaten 43-33.

Elsewhere in the division, Bakewell beat Kesteven 29-22, Mellish won 19-14 at Casuals, Belper saw off Grimsby 24-12 and Sileby shot down Boston 26-18.

On Saturday Mansfield are at home to Bakewell Mannerians (3pm), who are currently in eighth position, while Ashfield make the tough trip to table-topping Mellish.