Scunthorpe Stags entertained Pontefract on 14/01/17 in their first game of 2017. Scunthorpe had previously beaten Pontefract 49 – 10 at the beginning of the season.
Pontefract kicked the game off and found Tim Dunk who passed to Elliott Grant who in rampaging style beat 3 or 4 defenders to race into the oppositions half indeed it looked like he would score but was brought down on the opposition’s 22. Following a period of play Scunthorpe were awarded a scrum and in what would be a constant feature of the game the Scunthorpe forwards dominated the opposition and Matthew Mason was driven over the line to give Scunthorpe the first points of the day. Pontefract showed some attacking flair of their own and were awarded a penalty in a kickable position, which they duly scored. Scunthorpe were on the offensive for the next 20 or so minutes but were unable to score due mainly to their own lack of composure and precision. Scunthorpe got on the score board again with a penalty by Jake Barrett. This seemed to stir the Scunthorpe into action and following some great play by Kieran Bournes ,Mason and Grant, Oliver Fielding raced in to score, Barrett was unable to add the extra’s. David Ward was next to score for Scunthorpe following some great work by the forwards to give a score of 18 – 3 . Scunthorpe switched off for a period of time and allowed Pontefract some possession and they duly scored after a clever kick by their flyhalf who chased the kick and scored under the post to leave himself an easy kick for the extra points (18 -10). Scunthorpe lost fly half Barrett to injury and Simon Fisher had to step in to fly half from centre, the referee had had numerous talks to both captains which disjointed the game not allowing either team to settle into a pattern of play. The back three of Liam Brunt, Sam Pavloskis and Fielding were a constant threat and seemingly danced through the opposition.The first half ended with a score of Scunthorpe 18 Pontefract 10 with the feeling that Scunthorpe should have scored more if they could just make the final pass.
The second half started well for Scunthorpe with Sam Everingham scoring after only 5 minutes, Fisher stepping up to get his first conversion in senior rugby. Scunthorpe were dominant in the scrum pushing the Pontefract pack back on their put in and were also dominant in the quality of the tackling with Grant in particular making some hard hits. Indeed it was Grant who scored next, Fisher being unable to get the extra’s. The Pontefract players were reacting badly to some of the referee’s decisions and were beginning to lose their discipline, to Scunthorpe’s credit they kept their discipline and concentrated on playing attacking rugby. Charlie Van Gils impressed when he came on as replacement for scrum half Billy Hardy as did Matthew Johns at hooker following coach Bournes raft of changes shortly into the second half.
The changes seemed to work as further trys by Mitch Whiteley ,Fisher, Jack Rowbotham, Bournes of which only was converted gave Scunthorpe a winning score of 52 – 10.