Scunthorpe 22 V 18 CRUFC
A hard fought post Christmas blow out
Cleethorpes made the trip to Scunthorpe hoping to blow away the festive cobwebs with a team that showed a blend of youth and experience - and 5 front row players! The journey clearly took its toll as from the kick off Scunthorpe's number 8 took the ball and ran 3/4 of the pitch with barely a touch on him, and from this a try soon followed which the number ten duly converted with an impressive drop kick (even more impressive for a 4th team player!) Cleethorpes lost 2 players to injury very soon into the match - Kev Davidson literally and physically limped off after about 1.5 minutes and Olli Nance went off after a head injury meaning there was some reshuffling to do. John Marris came into the front row, Jase Nutting moved to hooker, and Peter Horobin came into the back row. This didn't help things initially but Clee gradually started to wake from their slumber and had a period in the opposition half. However a fumbled ball lead to a kick downfield and from the side of a ruck on the 5 metre line the opposition flanker managed to squirm his way over. This drop kick narrowly missed.
Cleethorpes started to play and tackle better and they turned this pressure into points as Scunthorpe have away a penalty directly in front of their posts which Joe Barker duly converted.
Clee went straight back on the attack and continued to press, and from a scrum in their 22 Matty Searle rolled back the years and out stripped their blind-side defence to go in at the corner. This left Joe Barker a very difficult conversion attempt but clearly he got some kicking boots for Christmas as this one sailed through the uprights - how we'd have liked to see that a few weeks before....but never mind!
Clee remained on the attack for the rest of the half but the stubborn Scunthorpe defence and the handling errors meant the half time score was 12-10 against, which considering the start was a good result so far.
Cleethorpes took heart from this and started the seconds half where they left off - attacking Scunthorpe - but still they couldn't find a way through until a chipped ball into the 22 was mis-fielded by 2 defenders and it dropped to Phill Stark. He duly drew the covering defence before unselfishly passing to the rampaging winger Simon Layzell who went over to score in the corner. The resulting conversion was another tricky one and this time it was narrowly missed, and Scunthorpe breathed a sigh of relief.
Clee were now in front and as happens Scunthorpe stepped up their game. Clee were not found wanting in their efforts and kept them at bay but the pressure told and they scored another converted try. A penalty from Joe Barker brought the scores to 17-18 in favour of the visitors, but in the closing minutes from a scrum deep in their own 22 the ball was not cleared and resultant ruck was won by Scunthorpe and they rumbled over for an unconverted try and that ended the scoring.
This hard fought match was played by both teams in excellent spirit and this goes for the referee also who had a great game. Clee can take a lot of heart from this especially the young lads making the step up - the second row partnership of Lloyd Jones and Joe Senior proved more than a match for their more experienced opposition and Clee dominated the scrums thanks in no small part to their efforts. Well played chaps - UTM.
Updated 19:36 - 10 Jan 2017 by Kev Davidson