Mansfield shoot down Sileby Town in grim conditions

Mansfield struggled to find their form in grim conditions but saw off Sileby Town 22-5 on Saturday, writes Phil Foster.

Monday, 21st February 2022, 4:16 pm
Updated Monday, 21st February 2022, 4:16 pm
Grim conditions at Eakring Road, but Mansfield beat Sileby Town.
Grim conditions at Eakring Road, but Mansfield beat Sileby Town.

Head coach Wayne Robinson was frustrated with the final result: “I thought we played well for large portions of the game but we left points out there.

“To not score at all in the second half is something we need to look at, we can’t blame the weather for that.”

The game was punctuated by bouts of rain that made the ground heavy and the ball slippery.

Storms Eunice and Dudley had wreaked havoc around the county for the previous few days and the pitch was always going to be difficult to navigate for both teams.

Dropped balls, turnovers and penalties were the order of the day.

Both teams really struggled to put their mark on the game.

Mansfield had a dominant driving maul but Sileby had a dominant scrum.

Both teams tried to link multiple phases but they just weren’t able to do it.

Sileby came in to this game on a losing streak while the home team had begun to put some consistent performances together over the previous few weeks.

This, ultimately, proved to be the difference.

Mansfield opened up the scoring with possession from a set piece.

Despite the visitors holding dominion in the scrum, the Blue-and-Whites managed to retrieve the ball quickly, put some phases together and register the first try of the game, Nathan Hill finishing off some good phase play.

A successful conversion by John-Ross Ward saw Mansfield lead 7-0.

A penalty for the home team saw them attempt a lineout 5m from the opponent’s line.

That throw wasn’t straight but, as would be the pattern for much of the game, they were soon given another opportunity.

This time, a kick at goal was chosen and Ward slotted it over to take the score to 10-0.

While the stodgy conditions didn’t really lend themselves to open rugby, both teams were happy to throw the ball around a bit and try to play expansive rugby.

Nowhere was this more exemplified than man of the match Emmanuel Ogunode, who seemed to make it his goal to beat every player on the opposition team.

However, it was Adam Rowbottom who scored Mansfield’s next try by blowing past a number of defenders to score in the corner.

A tough conversion was missed but Mansfield were beginning to pull away.

The final score for the home team came through a penalty try, awarded through the collective efforts of the forwards.

A yellow card for the visitors saw the home team set up a driving maul close to the try line.

A dominant feature of the past few weeks, the visitors were unable to cope with the pressure and stopped the drive illegally.

The referee wasn’t hesitant to award the penalty try which means another seven points was added to the home tally.

Unfortunately, the second half saw no more points added to that tally meaning a bonus point was missed out on.

While Mansfield were their own worst enemy at times, credit must be given to the tenacity of the Sileby defence.

At 22-0 down you’d be forgiven for thinking they could have simply crumbled.

However, if anything they came into the second half renewed and reinvigorated.

They defended well, causing turnovers and generally disrupting play; they attacked well, at times carving through the Mansfield defence like it wasn’t even there.

Silly mistakes crept into play and Mansfield were the recipients of three yellow cards during the second half, each one easily avoidable.

The third of those yellows saw Mansfield down to 13 men, something that Sileby took full advantage of by putting down a scrum and linking successive phases together to score their first try.

A difficult conversion was missed but the visitors were on the board at 22-5.

While both teams continued to play positive rugby despite the negative weather, there would be no more additions to the scoreboards.

Mansfield will rue the missed bonus point while Sileby will rue the missed opportunities that they just couldn’t execute.

All in all, the players made the best of the sodden conditions to compete in an enjoyable game.

Saturday was both a day of celebration and mourning at Eakring Road.

It was Ladies Day and the club was full of merriment and laughter as friends old and new came together to celebrate the game.

However, it was also seven days removed from the tragic death of Evesham winger Jack Jeffery who was injured in the process of scoring a try.

Clubs around the country retired the number 11 shirt and conducted a minute’s applause before kick-off.

This Saturday, Mansfield travel to East Retford. You can follow the action on Twitter @mansfieldrugby.