Bakewell Mannerians 1sts 21
Leicester Forest 18
Mannerians negotiated this potential banana skin to keep their league recovery on track – but only after surviving a late rally.
The first half was all about Henry Bagshawe’s team as they set about their task with vigour.
Tom Bell, grasping his opportunity at fly half with both hands, was the ringmaster as he produced a man-of-the-match performance and kept the visitors guessing.
In the forwards, Nick Morgan and James Turner were again immense, while Ethan Bagshawe made a welcome return from injury and Rob Holland was back in the centres.
The pressure and quality of rugby being produced by the home side was sure to bring points, and Rob Wells, Tom Crapper and Tom Oldfield all came close, after good forward play by Ben Sizer and Dan Driscoll had taken Mannerians into threatening places.
The Leicester outfit defended well but there was something inevitable about the opening score as Alistair Gregory crashed over after a 20-metre dash.
Mannerians were following up the previous week’s efforts by producing sublime rugby, and Ben Furness spearheaded the next attack, ably supported by Max Crampton and Jack Duncan.
Ethan Bagshawe, full of pent-up energy, scampered round the blindside of a well-worked ruck and slid in for the next score, which Holland converted.
The interval saw the skipper leave the field, to be replaced by Will Brocklehurst, as a precaution after a knock on the knee.
The visitors came out for the second half with a revised game plan as they tried to overcome the 12-3 deficit, and this consisted of reverting to forward trundles.
It was an effective, if tedious, approach, and they soon added a penalty – but Mannerians’ defence was impressive – with replacements Ben Hopkinson and Ed Armstrong prominent.
Holland kept the laser display scoreboard ticking with three more penalties, and by the time of Furness’s sin-binning, they were 21-6 to the good.
Leicester Forest took advantage of the extra man to crash over from short range, and, with the last play of the game, they were granted a dubious pushover try, despite their Number 8 appearing to have dropped the ball over the line.
Skipper Ethan Bagshawe was a relieved man as the whistle went and he reflected on what turned out to be a close victory.
He said: “It really shouldn’t have been as close as that.
“We should have scored more in the first half but our defence was phenomenal.”