Greens forge their way back into the game
Early Kick Off brings a Late Flurry
With their senior partners, Doncaster Knights also playing at Castle Park, the arrangement was for a 12.30pm kick-off for this Midlands Premier fixture. The Greens Travelled without Nick Syddall, David Haig, Guy Mychajluk and Will Robinson but there was a place on the bench for debutant Ben McStay.
A good turnout of support for this local derby saw a contrast in styles during the first quarter as the Phoenix boys played a counter attacking game whilst Scunthorpe maintained a more measured approach, gaining more territory. The Greens were first on the board with a penalty from Paul Cook gained for a scrummage offence after 15 minutes. The home boys responded, when from a position close to the line they drove over from a line-out. The conversion was missed but they were nonetheless ahead by 5 points to 3 after 20 minutes.
Scunthorpe seemed to lack their customary passion, with ball carrying not as intense as in their past 3 games thus far. To add to their woes, Jakob Hardy was binned for a late tackle after 34 minutes. As half-time approached, home fly-half, Sam Pocklington, directed a diagonal kick across the pitch and although in a close contest for the ball, wing threequarter, Sam Nunn managed to retain possession and sprint in from 20 metres out. Pocklington added the extras and the Doncaster boys held on to a twelve points to three lead at half-time.
Tim Robinson’s strong words at the break brought a much more positive attitude to The Greens rugby and after 12 minutes Ollie Cole drove over from close in, after good work by the Greens pack. Scunthorpe were now 12 points to 8 behind but had all the momentum and they were aided by the binning of a home forward after 20 minutes. Taking advantage, replacement Dave Garbutt, completed a forward drive for the try that put The Greens in front after 24 minutes. Cook added the extras and Scunthorpe had now taken the lead by 15 points to 12. Any complacency was soon shattered when only a moment later, a poor defensive clearance was run back and the lively Nunn finished in the left hand corner. He then proceeded to slot over the conversion and gain the advantage for the home team by 19 points to 15 after 25 minutes of the second period. Scunthorpe had a further set-back only two minutes later, when a now confident Phoenix team ran the ball back from their own half for Centre Will Smith to finish with power and pace. Nunn was again successful with the conversion and the Doncaster boys were now sitting pretty with a 26 points to 15 lead after 27 minutes of the second half.
The experienced Nick Dyson and Captain, Tom foster rallied the troops and in the 31st minute, more power from The Greens saw Garbutt go over for his second try. The conversion was missed but The Greens were now only a score down at 26 points to 20 with 9 minutes of normal time to play. Scunthorpe now had their tails up and following some good quality work through several phases, it was Josh Bird that sneaked over close to the posts. Cook added the extras to complete a dramatic come-back with a 27 points to 26 lead.
Scunthorpe remained hard nosed and pragmatic in retaining possession and forcing the home team to take risks from deep inside their own territory as the clock moved slowly through a lengthy period of added time. Eventually the final whistle signalled a victory for the Greens in a game of small margins when refereeing decisions were important to both teams at different times of the game.
Next week The Greens entertain Lichfield at Heslam Park who have now won their last two games, following a poor start to the season. Scunthorpe top the table having gained maximum points from the 4 league games thus far