Versus Mansfield 2nds : 1st September 2007

Amber Valley 1st XV 8pts
Mansfield 2nd XV 5pts
Valley could and should have won this encounter by a wider margin having controlled the game for long periods but should still be pleased with the performance against a strong Mansfield side.

With a an easy win under their belt against Long Eaton a tough game was just what was required prior to the start of the league campaign away at Ashby next week. img 6

Valley opened the game well, the forwards dominating the scrum and causing the visitors problems in getting any good ball. The backs looked lively and continually broke the gain line with simple moves as they eased their way into the game. It was one of these simple moves that released Wing Lee Steemson through the centre. Steemson then offloaded the ball to Shaun Dowdall who then flicked the ball to his brother, Liam, to score to the left of the posts. Shaun Dowdall missed the extras but Valley were looking good.

Valley although playing well continually gave away penalties in rucks letting Mansfield off the hook and putting themselves under pressure, something that will have to be remedied against league opposition in weeks to come. Despite Mansfield getting field position from Valleys indiscretions they were unable to break through Valleys determined tackling, or use their pace to go round, with both the forwards and backs defending well as units and giving the opposition little opportunity to break through.

Valley reached half time pleased with their performance, despite only crossing the whitewash once. Mansfield made several changes at half time, with virtually a whole new back line.

Mansfield tried to mix the play up and were marshalled well, but Valleys defence was more than up to it as they tackled hard and turned over possession on numerous occasions.

The pack again, dominating in the set piece also started to dominate the loose starving the opposition of ball and forcing them into mistakes. Valley extended their lead from a penalty to put them 8-0 ahead.

Despite the conditions and their dominance Valley failed to find the break and the last 10 minutes Mansfield put the team under enormous pressure and were rewarded when a Valley tackle was finally missed and the Mansfield Centre sidestepped Stewart Kirkup to score. Mansfield missed the resulting conversion.
Valley saw off some final pressure to close out the game.