Nottinghamshire Pennant League
Mansfield 3rd 0
Kesteven 2nd 76
Given the circumstances, this was as impressive a result as it looks, as Kesteven continue their assault on the top spot in the league.
Having had a couple of weeks’ break, Kesteven’s 2nd XV were back on the road to face Mansfield who had held them to a 5-5 draw in the first game of the season, and so the visitors were expecting a tough afternoon. Valentine’s Day and the Six Nations took their toll on availability as a mere 15 players made the journey, with the inexperienced Charles and Midgley sharing responsibilities as hooker.
It was a fine day for running rugby, which was to suit Kesteven and they began brightly, taking the game to the larger Mansfield side. There were less than five minutes on the clock when the ball was worked to Rupert Jordan in space. He showed a fantastic turn of speed to run round the outside of Mansfield’s defence to score at the posts. The conversion attempt from Harland was successful.
The game plan for Ks was simple, avoid scrummaging at all costs and keep the ball alive. This they managed for the most part, epitomised by the second try where, after numerous phases, the ball was worked to Charles to sprint for the corner.
Kesteven looked to capitalise on this fine start, not straying from the formula that was clearly working and allowing Rupert Jordan to complete a quickfire hat trick, with Mansfield unable to cope with his pace and mazy running lines.
Harland, playing out of position at scrum half, managed to get over the whitewash following good work from the forward, with Ryder able to complete the first half scoring.
Kesteven were comfortable at half time but conscious that Mansfield had a large bench which they could use to good effect when the Black Army legs tired. Stand-in skipper Phil Jordan gave his charges free licence to run around the park in the second half, which of course they relished.
As expected, Mansfield came back at the start of the second half, using their larger pack to good effect and making ground to the Kesteven line.
Heroic defence kept them out and, following an unbelievable steal from a maul by Dan Singer, the ball was worked down the pitch through fine running by Parker, Phil Jordan and Will Aspinall. It was then worked to Rupert Jordan for the inevitable score.
Again Mansfield came back at Kesteven and worked a good position on the left. They won a scrum and thought they had gone over in the corner, only to be cruelly denied a consolation score by the referee who adjudged the scrum half to have put a foot in touch.
Undeterred, Mansfield worked another five metre scrum and just when it looked like they had pushed the Ks’ pack over the line, their number eight picked up at the wrong time and the Kesteven defence held firm.
This was just the tonic needed to finish the game strongly, and time and again the ball was worked to Rupert Jordan, who managed by the end of the game to have notched up an impressive personal tally of eight tries. Young Jack Ryder also completed his brace by the end of the game and Matt Harland converted seven and Martin Parker one to complete a resounding victory.
Kesteven: Osbourne, Charles, Mawby, Singer, Vincent, Armstrong, Midgley, Danford, Harland, Parker, R. Jordan, P. Jordan, Aspinall, Ryder, Windsor,