There had been fireworks on the pitch the previous night and judging by the attitude of the players in the changing room there were going to be more come kick off time. Gaffer, Ian Lee gave the lads one of his rousing pre match speeches and informed the lads that the laughing and joking must stop now, he expected nothing less than 100% commitment from everyone over the next eighty minutes.
I don’t know whether it was the stern words of Captain Lee ringing in their ears or the hunger for another scintillating home victory but Scunthopre started the game like men possessed. Wharfedale had spent the previous hour warming up on the pitch and were hoping to get off to a flying start, this proved to be very optimistic and Scunthorpe had very similar ideas. The visitors kicked off handing possession to Scunthopre who proceeded to bombard the opposition defence with wave after wave of attacks, the ball was quickly recycled by the relentless Scunthorpe pack, something had to give and eventually it did, young Robbie Goodyear cut a beautifully angled line and sliced the Wharfedale defence in half, scoring neatly under the posts. A shell-shocked Wharfedale side began to look around knowingly at their selves, having yet not touched the ball; it was going to be a tough day at the office. Lee inevitably took the extras; his kicking this season has been nothing short of sensational and has been an integral part of the team’s success.
The game was restarted but unfortunately for Wharfedale it was more of the same. The visitors tackled bravely and put up fierce resistance to the Scunthopre onslaught, but nothing was going to repel the home team in this kind of mood and next up it was the turn of the teams Polish International star, young Guy Mychaijluk. Guy was only twelve when he first came to England, but over the last few months he has shown a real improvement on not only his grasp of the English language but his rugby ability. Guy took a delightful little pop pass from the ever youthful Coult after a sniping run and steamed over from five yards like a runaway train, the man-mountain is literally unstoppable with a full head of steam from that distance. Tough tackling teenager Guy, hit the opposing number eight with one of his trademark showstoppers, sending him flying, Mychaijluk slammed down the ball and celebrated with a blood curdling “ooooshhh!”
In fact, there was something of an international flavour to the occasion with Gav Hale making the quick dash back from St Tropez to make the game, which really does show male-model Gavin’s commitment as his appointment at The St Tropez Tanning Studio, Frodingham Road was at 12.30pm. Gav quickly changed into his skin tight kit and rushed out on the pitch with only seconds to spare before kick off, this was no mean feet as he had to walk past three mirrors before leaving the changing rooms.
The pattern of the game was set, Scunthorpe looked dangerous with the ball in their hands, the forwards began to dominate, with great rucking, as always, from the grotesque strengthed Turner. Aldridge proved to be a constant pain in Wharfedale’s side, contesting every scrum and delivering pinpoint passes to the long arms of Redmile or Stow at every line-out. Warrilow and Mather were ruthless at break-downs, contesting everything and not giving the Wharfedale pack a moment’s respite, even with the ball in their possession. I don’t know what these two ginger haired warriors had for breakfast but their energy levels and work rate throughout the game was exceptional. Dyson hoovered up any loose scraps and it was his invention that brought about the third try of the game, seeing a tiny opening, Dyson took a quick tap penalty and ploughed over the line leaving a clean wake in his path. Lee predictably converted.
It was the turn of Drewry next, having missed the previous two games due to injury, Gavin made a welcome return to the team. The bulky number eights support play all day was nothing short of astonishing, Drewry’s impressive nineteen stone frame left no blade uncovered and deservedly bundled over the line towards the end of the first half, this was to be his first of three tries on the day, giving the team a real champagne performance on his return.
The half time whistle blew and it was clear that Scunthopre were in control, having said that take nothing away from this plucky Wharfedale side who continued to look dangerous especially through their jinky scrum-half, who was continuously looking for the cracks in Scunthorpe defence. Chief Lee found himself in the delightful position of only being able to ask for more of the same from the team and gave the team his full permission to go out and enjoy themselves in the second half.
Scunthopre certainly did this and it wasn’t long before the little ball of muscle that is Wood rolled over into the corner, the low-centre-of-gravity centre dived fifteen metres from the line but with momentum on his side, slid the full length to touch down in the far corner. Wood wasn’t the only centre in rude form. Matt Ellis is having what can only be described as the season of his life, he underwent a strict training programme throughout the summer which included getting his daily calorie count down to six thousand, the weight soon dropped off, Matt can now comfortably squeezes into a 36DD cup and has come back fitter, stronger and leaner at a slender twenty three and half stone. Matt took the difficult decision to radically change his game this season and has finally accepted that running head on at the opposition without the ball does not show his full talents.
Westheads distribution continues to rival any service DHL or Parcelforce could offer, David almost defies physics as he squeezes his huge frame into the number nine shirt week in week out, the way he stands equal in size to the fierce forwards and fires one of his trademark bullets into the safe hands of Coult never fails to impress. Veteran Westhead enthusiasm for the game seems to have return after the long-in-the-tooth scrum half took a few years out of the game to concentrate on building a successful career in Sauce management.
For some reason the ref became a little bit frustrated with Scunthorpe’s style of play and the penalty count against the home team was starting to add up. Mather was sent to the sidelines for diving over the ruck and competing for the ball too aggressively, Bournes was penalised for being too strong in the scrum and not giving the opposite front rower a chance and Stow became the second Scunthorpe player sent to the sidelines for throwing his dummy out of the pram. It seemed strange that Scunthopre, the team obviously in great ascendance would decide to turn the game into a scrappy affair when they had had such success with their free-flowing style of “samba” rugby. In fact one of the key factors in this season’s success for the thirds has come from their impeccable disciplinary record. This point can be illustrated clearly by taking Rick Lee for example, it wouldn’t be unfair to say Richard has had his fair share of discipline issues on the field (which is ironic as off the field you couldn’t wish to me a calmer, nicer more docile lad), last season Rick was involved in many confrontations with referees, players, family, spectators, dog walkers, grounds men, car park attendants – he even fell out with himself once for putting hair gel in his eye but this season he really has turned over a new leaf at it shows in his performances. Rick has channeled his natural aggression into his play, and this season bursts opposition’s defensive lines instead of bursting blood vessels.
The team’s speedsters of Whitely, Davies and Redmile were now making light work of a tiring Wharfedale defence, the three pronged attack of Whitely up the left, Davies on the right and Redmile up the middle zapped any energy out of the Wharfedale player’s legs and created space for points machine Ian Lee to exploit, one of two he was to get on the day. Lee doesn’t need asking twice if he’d like the opportunity to score and after some heroic work from Stow, who ploughed through the centre of the field carrying three would be Wharfedale tacklers on his back, offloaded to Lee who jinxed and jived to make the conversion as easy as possible for the kicker – himself.
Man of the Match was rightfully awarded to Drewry for a truly magical performance capped with a three try haul but in truth it was a very convincing 62-0 team performance from Scunthorpe thirds. The team really does seem to have clicked this season and there seems to be a desire and spirit running throughout every player combined with a great belief that this team can go on and achieve great things this season. Roll on next week when the thirds hosts a much stiffer task in Sheffield Tiger 2nds.
MATCH REPORT BY CHRIS REDMILE