Greens Draw with the Shropshire All Blacks
Close Contest of First v Second
Scunthorpe made the long journey without Tom Hughes, Oli Wood, Nick Syddall, and Liam Brunt. To compound matters, Colin Chapman pulled out with a severe cold on the day. Rory Rendall-Tyrrell had to move from the back row to the wing as cover.
The game kicked off in front of a large home crowd for their final match on their own turf before the Christmas break and the home team responded by putting The Greens under immediate pressure. They moved the ball out to the right and fullback Afeafe Haisila exploited the overlap to score in the corner. The conversion was missed but they had taken a 5 points to nil advantage after 9 minutes of play. Both sides tried to be ambitious but in the wet slippery conditions, mistakes were inevitable. Scunthorpe managed a penalty after 19 minutes when Paul Cook converted an excellent strike from 40 metres out. The Shropshire boys then responded when, with Scunthorpe trying to play out of their own half, a chip ahead was charged down by Llew Williams who cleverly regathered to score close to the posts. He then added the extras and the home boys were now ahead by 12 points to 3 after 22 minutes.
Th Greens gradually started to turn the tide in their favour with some powerful driving play and series of penalties being conceded by the home team at the breakdown. Cook kicked another penalty in the 24th minute and yet another in the 31st minute, to bring the scores to 12 points to 9 in favour of the home team. Scunthorpe still maintained the ascendancy and The home boys had a man sent to the bin. As the game moved into first half added time, they retained possession through multiple phases to eventually score in the right corner when Benn Hyde was able to touchdown. Scunthorpe therefore took a slender 14 points to 12 lead into the interval.
The Greens started the second period brightly enough but lost position with some poor tactical choices. It was the Salopians who retook the lead after 10 minutes when Williams slotted a penalty in the 10th minute of the second half, for a 15 points to 14 lead. Cook had a long range attempt after 17 minutes but came up short. As Scunthorpe were now on the wrong end of the referees whistle, Williams converted another penalty after 21 minutes for an 18 points to 14 advantage. The Greens continued to have their moments and following a short period of pressure, they gave the position away through an abortive drop goal and not just retaining the ball.
Typically The Home boys then went up-field and another penalty was kicked in the 32nd minute for a 21 points to 14 lead. As the game moved into it’s final stages, The Greens made some determined drives into the opposition ‘22’. With the pressure building all the time, Scunthorpe’s pack drove for the opposition line from a tap penalty and as they eased towards the home line, the driving Maul was pulled down, resulting in a penalty try and 7 points. Bridgnorth also had a man sent to the bin for the offence. The game was well into added time and as Scunthorpe conceded a penalty at the breakdown, for which Nick Dyson was carded, Williams made his final attempt to gain the victory. The failure kept the teams level at 21 points each and in first and second places in the table.
Match Report by LWJ Clayton