Young Greens take Dinnington title to top off their remarkable season with a 100% record
Scunthorpe U9s concluded their season by travelling to Dinnington for their annual junior rugby festival. The field was quite small with 4 teams entered; our host, the Greens, Sheffield and Cleethorpes. So the format was a single pool followed by semi-finals, a 3rd place play-off and the final. This guaranteed 5 games for all the children.
1st Pool game; Scunthorpe v Sheffield. Scunthorpe started slowly despite the warm-up, initially struggling to get the ball moving, with a smaller pitch resulting in the ball being held in successive mauls. The deadlock was broken when the ball popped out of the side of a maul near the Sheffield line. Dawson was first to the ball, scooping it up and diving over the line to conclude the 1st half. The Greens emerged from the half time team talk with a better focus. They narrowly missed out on a try from a maul when the Sheffield team successfully held the ball up. Taylor managed to cross the line when the ball was distributed from the well worked scrum. Taylor quickly followed up having supported a good Heath-Drury run and offload. Sheffield seemed a little dazed as Scunthorpe picked up the pace; Brader benefiting from a turnover and then completing a 30yd rush for the line. Hogg brushed aside a couple of Sheffield tacklers and although being knocked off his feet, wasn't held so had the presence of mind to roll a yard to cross the line. Scunthorpe worked hard in the mauls and scored two more from ripping the ball away from Sheffield. Hogg scampered 20 yds before offloading to McInnis and then Heath-Drury concluded matters with his own rip and run. Very much a "game of two halves", but Scunthorpe got the result eventually; final score 7-0.
Match 2 Scunthorpe vs Dinnington. Scunthorpe followed straight on with a game against our hosts. The Greens managed to make this work for them as their focus from the end of the previous game transferred and they started strongly. Dinnington had several big lads who wanted to run through the defence, however the Scunthorpe boys stood their ground well and tackled strongly. Great work across the team with Elford and Lambert in particular getting stuck in along with the forward players. Scunthorpe turned defence into attack from a Dinnington line out 5 yds out, with the boys getting up quickly and forced the eventual mistake over the Dinnington try line which was pounced on by Taylor. Next followed a textbook move from a scrum on half way. Dawson popped the ball to Taylor who took it at speed and romped through the Dinnington back line. Strong work in the mauls was a key feature again, and the rucking had improved from the first game, drawing in the Dinnington tacklers which in turn created space for the Scunthorpe runners. Talbot, Brien and Lambert fitted in well to this style of play when they came on, giving other lads a spell off. Heath-Drury scored following a good solo run from one of these rucks. Hogg then characteristically emerged twice from mauls with the ball and with well timed offloads released Brader and McInnis to score and round the game off nicely. Hard work, but just rewards came to the U9s; final score 5-0.
3rd Pool game; Scunthorpe vs Cleethorpes. Ferguson stepped up as Captain, for the 3rd pool game and led from the front. Scunthorpe quickly took control with a Heath-Drury offload to Elford to open the scoring. Scunthorpe maintained the pressure and managed to run in another 4 before half time. Cooling ploughed through several Cleethorpes tacklers, Elford received good service from a Taylor offload. Hogg then ripped a couple from mauls again to provide the ball to Dawson and then Taylor. The second half brought some substitutions and Gosling, Brien, Talbot and Lambert all played a strong part in proceedings. Hogg started the 2nd half with try having harried 3 Cleethorpes players in succession following their line-out. Dawson benefitted from a strong run and well-timed pass from Heath-Drury. Taylor ran from inside his own half through the Cleethorpes line. Not to be out-done Heath-Drury ripped the ball at the restart and trotted across for one of his own. Proceedings were brought to a close by charging run from Brader and another finish from Taylor. Final score 11-0.
Semi final; Scunthorpe v Cleethorpes. In the semis 1st would play 4th and 2nd and 3rd would compete for spots in the final. This brought Scunthorpe up against Cleethorpes again straight away. Full credit has to go to the Cleethorpes boys who played strongly and didn't let the previous game affect them. Scunthorpe found the going a bit tougher, with better defensive work by the seasiders. Heath-Drury did manage to steal following a line out and open the account though. He then set up another with a pass to McInnis. Hogg then picked up 2 either side of half time; a strong run from a penalty free-pass and breaking out of a maul avoiding a couple a tacklers on the way. Dawson crossed the line receiving from a Cooling offload. The game closed with a very classy piece of rugby, a weaving run from Taylor set up a pass to McInnis who beat the last defender. Final score 6-0.
A special mention to Talbot and Gosling D who turned out for Cleethorpes in their 3rd place play-off against the hosts. They both put in some great tackles, Talbot rucked well and Gosling put in a lovely run from the wing being only narrowly denied a first match score. Great contribution lads!
Final; Scunthorpe v Sheffield. The day ended where it had started with Scunthorpe facing the blue and white hoops of Sheffield. Sheffield came out strongly and showed a determination to compete. The first points came to Scunthorpe though with a Heath-Drury rip from the maul and a dive over the line. Hogg stole the ball and put in a diagonal 20yd run to notch up another. Sheffield then pushed forward strongly and almost crossed the Green's line with only strong tackling from the full team stopping a score. Dawson received the ball out of a maul and bravely pushed over for a score. Hogg was twice denied over the Sheffield try line with a great tackle and then messy handling, but fortunately the Greens had already established a cushion. The second half started with strong efforts from the Sheffield team who weren't about to gift the cup to Scunny. They held Scunthorpe at bay for 5 mins with strong defence and counter play. Not long before the end Scunthorpe wrapped the game up with one final try; a great move with a Brader 20yd run followed by a well timed pass to Taylor who ran in from half way. Final score 4-0.
Another day where great defensive work made the difference. This was delivered from across the full team. Notable was the way that the lads coming off the bench fitted in and made a strong contribution to the total team performance. Scunthorpe were Dinnington festival champions for the 2nd year running and fittingly capped off a remarkable season with a 100% record (see separate News article for full season statistics). Well done Greens great effort and a just reward for the hard graft and teamwork.