Bridgnorth 13 v Scunthorpe 18
Scunthrope made the long journey to the Edgar Davies Ground for the first time in their history and were welcomed with rain, which lasted throughout the game. The “Greens” started the game well gaining good pitch position and charging over the line from a ruck close to the Bridgnorth line, three minutes into the game to make it 5 – 0 to Scunthorpe, after the conversion was missed.
The “North” regrouped and worked their way down the left hand side of the pitch, before creating two effective line breaks by the forwards and spinning the ball wide to the right. An excellent holding running line by Matt Farrington gave a great opportunity for Will Bishop to throw a wide pass to Llew Williams who had Jack Pons on his inside and Elliot Brooks to his outside shoulder. The pass to Brooks was well caught in difficult wet conditions and he took his chance very well to shoot in for the try in the corner. An excellent touchline conversion by Llew Williams made it 7 – 5 to the Shropshire All Blacks after just 9 minutes.
The Lincolnshire men worked hard to gain pitch position for the remainder of the first half by securing solid scrum ball and kicking to the Bridgnorth corners. This effective game management resulted in two further penalties making it 11 – 7 to Scunthorpe on the half hour mark. The first half finished with a fantastic catch and drive by the hard working All Black forwards, which was illegally pulled down, giving an easy penalty making it 11 – 10 to Scunthorpe at half time.
With the Shropshire lads now playing towards their favoured riverside end, confidence was high that the home side could put the visitors under some real pressure. This was very much the case with the “North” having a bright start to the half with Matt Farrington touching down, only to be brought back for a foot in touch. Bridgnorth yet again created a good platform at the lineout, to catch and drive towards the try line, resulting in another penalty for illegally bringing down the driving maul. The successful penalty by Llew Williams made it 13 - 11 to Bridgnorth with twenty minute to go.
Further pressure within the visitors 22 saw Scunthorpe reduced to 14 men with a yellow card. The home team went for the scrum instead of taking the points from the penalty to really turn the screw on the Lincolnshire outfit. All credit the men in green who then produced their scrum of the game to push the home side off their own ball and prevent the vital score Bridgnorth were hoping to gain. The situation was made worse just a minute later when Bridgnorth were also reduced to 14 men due to a high tackle. At this point the tide seemed to turn in favour of Scunthopre, who again kicked the ball down to the opposite end of the pitch for a rare visit into the Bridgnorth end. The “Greens” scrum again came up trumps to secure good quality ball resulting in a try from the base of the restart. The successful conversion made it 18 - 13 to the visitors.
With only five minutes to go Bridgnorth tried to gain that all important pitch position, on such a wet day, to create the platform to bounce back and take the game. Scunthorpe had other ideas and were able to marshal the last few minutes and gain the vital win on the road.
Bridgnorth attempted to play some progressive rugby and without doubt evidence of the hard work they have put in was on show. However the solid set piece at scrum time and effective game management with the boot of the experienced stand off won the day for the vistors. As the Shropshire All Blacks reflect on a lost opportunity to gain further momentum on the excellent victory away at Bournville last week, individual errors on a difficult day for handling was their downfall.
Next week sees the North Midland Cup game at home against local rivals Newport RFC, 3.00 kick off down at the Edgar Davies Ground. A game, which will no doubt be full of passion, as the two top ranked teams in Shropshire go head to head for local bragging rights. One not to miss I suggest.
Director of Rugby