"The One That Got away"
First Defeat in 12 matches
Scunthorpe travelled back up the A1 with the feeling of having let the game slip following their defeat by 21 points to 17. There was definitely the feeling that this was “one that got away” and should not have resulted in their first defeat in 12 matches.
The Greens travelled with virtually a full squad, Eddie Newsum being the only one missing. As The Lions first team pitch was virtually under water, the game was switched to the second team ground that was lot firmer under foot. The weather conditions were quite mild for a change, even though there was no sunshine.
The home boys started at a hectic pace with some high intensity ball carrying and it took some really strong defending to keep them at bay. It was in the 9th minute that they did break through when following a series of powerful drives, Tongan second row, Sioki Vaha Taufu’i powered over. Nico Defeo added the extras and The Lions were ahead by 7 points to nil. This situation did not last for too long as Scunthorpe struck back when some powerful running from inside their own half, by the likes of Oli Wood and Grant Elliott set up a position whereby Tom Foster was able to put Ben Hyde in under the posts. Paul Cook added the conversion and after 12 minutes of play the teams were level.
Both teams continued to probe each others defences which held firm with only the very rare line break causing minimal problems. The Greens turned over a Lions ball on their own 10 metre line and as play moved out to the right, Cook joined the line and put in a diagonal kick which was chased down by Sam Morgan and Will Robinson. The bounce favoured the Scunthorpe centre and Robinson outpaced the cover to score under the posts. Cook duly added the extras and Scunthorpe were ahead after 27 minutes, by 14 points to 7. Scunthorpe continued to probe the Lions territory and following another line break by Wood a Lions player was penalised and binned at the breakdown in the 31st minute. Scunthorpe though failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority and in fact it was the home team that drew level in the 39th minute through a try by another Tongan, in winger Niko Mao. Defeo added the extras and the teams went into the break all square at 14 points apiece.
Scunthorpe had the use of what slight wind advantage there was but did not use this to any great extent. Play was confined to mid-field with The Greens at this point having a marginal territorial gain. It was from one sally into the home half that they gained a penalty and Cook duly stepped up to convert from a position 35 metres out and half-way in from touch. The Greens were now in the lead by 17 points to 14 after 20 minutes of the second period. Then from a position inside their own half Scunthorpe attempted to break out by running the ball, they went through successive phases instead of taking the kicking option to exit. The ball was eventually lost and the Lions moved the ball out to the left wing and it was Kaz Henderson that took the inside pass and beat the Scunthorpe cover to touchdown close to the posts. Defeo once more converted and the Home boys were ahead by 21 points to 17 after 25 minutes.
Scunthorpe came back with strong pressure from their pack and gained a penalty on the half hour in front of the posts. The decision was made to go for the lineout option instead of for goal which would have put them a point behind with ten minutes to play. The catch and drive failed but pressure was still on the home side. Scunthorpe moved the ball out to the left where a Lions player deliberately knocked the ball down and was therefore yellow carded. What the travelling support failed to understand was why a penalty try was not awarded as play was in the red zone. Play continued in the home ‘22’ for the remainder of the match with Scunthorpe gaining at least 3 more penalties but every time they were repulsed by a resolute Lions defence, sometimes only inches from the line. The final whistle brought a hard fought home win for the Lions and any dreams of a play-off place for The Greens, now much diminished.