Victory for the Stags in Merit Cup and League double header
Cleckheaton 19 Scunthorpe 49
Scunthorpe RUFC Stags v Cleckheaton RUFC 2nds 06/10/18
Scunthorpe Stags travelled to Cleckheaton to play a Cup and League double header, the Stags welcomed back captain Kane Linklater from his time with the first team and were able to travel with a strong squad.
Scunthorpe kicked off the game with the wind on their backs but it was Cleckheaton who started the better with some strong forward attacking play and clever play by their fly half. Cleckheaton had the first line out of the game and in what was to be a recurring theme Stags won the ball after good work by David Ward. The game continued to be played near the half way with both teams defending well, after about 5 minutes there was an extended break in play with Stags Jay Johnson having to leave the field after suffering a serious eye injury following a tackle. Johnson was replaced by the experienced Tim Dunk. Cleckheaton upped their game and with the Stags missing first up tackles managed to get the first try of the game after 6 minutes which was not converted. The score energised the Stags and after winning the scrum against the feed Bill Hardy chipped over the defensive line for the ball to go into touch, the Stags stole the lineout and after a series of pick and go’s by the forwards, Linklater crossed the line to score, Jake Goodison converted to give a score of 5 – 7 in favour to the Stags after 16 minutes. The Stags scrum half Will Harrison and fly half Goodison began to run the game and after a period of defending by the Stags they stole Cleckheaton line out and Harrison made good yards only to be halted by what appeared to be a high tackle, Harrison rather than remonstrating with the referee took a quick penalty and scored virtually under the posts, Goodison converting again. Harrison had another chance to take a quick penalty 2 minutes later and fed Matthew Field who cleverly evaded the defenders turning them one way and then the other to score the Stags 3 rd try of the game after 35 minutes, Goodison kicking the extra’s. Cleckheaton were now tiring and didn’t help themselves after the hooker was yellow carded for a high tackle on Hardy. After a planned move at the lineout the ball was given to prop Clarke Murray who bulldozed his way across the line to score in the dying minutes of the first half, Goodison converted leaving a first half score of Cleckheaton 5 Scunthorpe 28.
Scunthorpe again started poorly in the first 10 minutes of the second half and after only 5 minutes Cleckheaton scored and converted. After Cleckheaton were just up to full strength Goodison was yellow carded for a high tackle, although not malicious he made contact with the players head giving the referee no choice. The Stags had to reshuffle their line up with Hardy going to scrum half and Harrison to fly half and were beginning to get their centres and wingers into the game and after the ball made its way to Field he again with silky running skills evaded the defenders to score a great try to bring the Stags back into the game with Goodison off the field Harrison stepped up to get the extra’s. With Cleckheaton attacking the Stags broke out of defence with Field again carrying the ball gave the ball to Matthew Mason and with Mick Dunk supporting Mason passed the ball to Dunk who scored, Harrison again getting the extra’s. Cleckheaton again attacked and after the Stags missing tackles scored and converted to give a score of Cleckheaton 19 Scunthorpe 42 with 15 minutes of the game left to play. The last 10 minutes of the game were constantly interrupted by injuries and neither team could really play free flowing rugby. The last points of the game went to Scunthorpe in the shape of Ward scoring a try and Goodison getting the conversion giving the final score Cleckheaton 19 Scunthorpe 49.
Although not a perfect performance by Scunthorpe they now progress to the next round of the Yorkshire Merit Cup knowing also after beating Market Rasen in their previous game they are still involved in 2 cup competitions