Valley 2nds 13pts
With the first game in nearly eight weeks for the majority of the team, midweek numbers were looking very promising with 25 available.
However, as Saturday got nearer this swindled to only 16 with five of these happening on the Saturday.
Obviously not a great way to prepare for a game and these changes resulted in putting players in unfamiliar positions.
For the first half this did not seem to matter and Valley played some good rugby utilising the power of the front five to dominate the scrum and give a good platform from which the backs used to great advantage running the limited moves they had with some excellent results.
The first try for Valley came from a culmination of a good scrum forcing Mansfield onto the back foot, Gartside playing at nine passed out to the backs and a miss move put Johnson into space and allowed him to use the overlap and pop a simple pass to Horton for him to cross the whitewash for the first time in a Valley shirt.
For the following 20 minutes Valley continued to apply the pressure but Mansfield were determined in their defence and despite repeated attempts weren’t allowed another try in the first half.
At half time the team talk concentrated on everyone keeping focused and trying to play to the strengths shown.
Five minutes into the second half after conceding a penalty which Valley converted to lead 8-0 Mansfield changed their game plan and instead of trying to compete at the scrum they used a very experienced and talented back row to pick up and drive towards the Valley backs as soon as the ball reached the number eight’s feet creating space for their backs.
alley seemed to have no response and for the next 25 minutes capitulated allowing Mansfield 35 unanswered and sometimes easy points with tackles slipping off as if they were trying to catch a greased pig.
Something changed in the attitude and aptitude and for the last ten minutes, Valley regrouped and pushed hard threatening the Mansfield try line once again.
The renewed determination forced Mansfield to give away three or four penalties, the final one resulting in a kick to the corner for a line out five metres from the try line and a well executed move resulted in a score for Poole which was the last move of the game.
Valley are at home this week and need take the concentration and work ethic from the last ten minutes into this game.