Mansfield RUFC avenge early season loss with 24-17 win at rivals Derby

Action Mansfield RUFC's 24-17 win at Derby.
Action Mansfield RUFC's 24-17 win at Derby.
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Mansfield avenged their narrow defeat to Derby earlier in the season at Eakring Road with a 24-17 win on Saturday.

The Blue and Whites produced a superb all-round team display to return up the A38 with a richly deserved victory.

On a perfect day for rugby, the visitors received the kick off with the late winter sun on their backs.

Andy Simms claimed and worked the ball back to Jonathan Williams who cleared into touch on half way.

Captain Phil Donaldson stole the line out but a knock-on at close quarters gave the advantage to the home side, Derby won the scrum and drove into the Mansfield half.

The referee penalised Mansfield for a tackle infringement, with three points gratefully accepted by the home side.

But after absorbing some early Derby pressure, Mansfield were soon in the ascendancy and took a deserved lead.

On 16 minutes and following a Derby knock-on, Mansfield were given a scrum 10 metres into opposition territory.

Alan Symcox picked up from the base and off-loaded to back row partner Josh Hall, who despite being tackled hard recycled a quick ball.

It allowed Adam Shaw to release Williams who in turn passed to Ash Wills on the 22 to glide past three defenders and score next to the posts.

Williams was successful with the conversion.

After missing two subsequent penalty kicks, Williams atoned on the half-hour mark to kick the Blue and Whites 10-3 ahead after an infringement by the home side.

It got even better for Mansfield shortly after when a converted try by Shaw opened up a 17-3 lead.

The try came from a Mansfield scrum after a Derby knock on as they desperately attempted to recover possession

Symcox picked up from the scrum and passed to Shaw in space who strolled in unescorted behind the posts.

Williams duly added the extras to give the Blue and Whites a 14-point advantage at the break.

In the second half Mansfield continued to pile pressure on in a bid to extend their lead.

And they extended their advantage further with 20 minutes remaining.

Derby ran from the deep but this time were penalised on half way for crossing, Williams returned the ball to the corner.

McGregor climbed high to claim the line out, the maul was formed and the home side were marched back over the line where a beaming Josh Hall emerged from the pileup.

Williams added the conversion to give the visitors a 21-point cushion.

But with 10 minutes to go the deficit was cut after Derby won a free kick from a scrum on the Mansfield 22.

A quick tap caught the usually impenetrable Mansfield defence on the back foot.

The home side added the extras to close the gap to 14.

With two minutes to go seventeen year-old Anthony Symcox joined the fray with brothers Alan and Joe.

Derby reduced the deficit further in the closing moments after a well worked scissor movement out wide.

The conversion was successful and proved to be the final action of the game to give Derby a losing bonus point at the death.

Coach Steve Shaw reflected on a superb all-round team performance from which certainly appeased the early season disappointment.

This Saturday, Huntingdon visit Eakring Road, with the kick off being 3pm.

For updates on the match, follow @MansfieldRugby on Twitter.