Scunthorpe Colts 27 Hull Ionians 19
Colts win league against North Bank neighbours Hull Ionians in title shoot-out.
On Sunday March 26th, Scunthorpe Colts played their last home league fixture against Hull Ionians. In just about perfect rugby conditions, the Greens ran out winners, despite the visitors being first and last scorers in an epic encounter down at Heslam Park. Cheered on by lots of supporters including first team players Kieran Bournes, Danny Bournes, Kane Linklater and Gareth Mist, this young colts team delivered a performance from 1 to 22, that did the shirt proud. Outscoring their opponents four tries to three, to secure top spot in the Yorkshire Division three.
The match did not start too well for the home side. Losing the ball in contact on second phase, the Ionians would dominate lineout and scrum for the first ten minutes and it was no surprise that they scored first with their direct running, despite heroic goal line defence, typified by prop Aiden Legge running the full width of the pitch to thwart Ionians as they moved it right to left from a scrum 5. His efforts were in vain as their impressive number eight ran under the posts after another scrum success against the head. Despite looking short, it was given and converted, 0-7.
A lofted kick off from fly-half Jess Matthews was chased by scrum half Archie Swain, who just wanted it more than anyone else. Superb drives from forwards Stephen Middleton and Matty Wormold , had the Greens 15 yards out. Quick ball from the breakdown gave the talented Matthews room to sprint to the line. His dummy to the right but step to the left, totally confused the visitors and he touched down over the line, to cement his position as the team’s top try scorer. A brilliant conversion from Matty Boden levelled the scores at 7 -7.
The restart had Ionians penalised for taking out Josh Sarsfield in the air and Boden’s 40 yard touchfinder put the Greens back on the attack straight away, but Ionians would clear the eventual danger. Livewire winger Devon James was involved in the next two pieces of action. Taken high when running the ball back, he was to taste success shortly after. A monster clearance kick from Matthews was chased by James who put his opposite winger under so much pressure, the Ionians player was forced to knock it behind his own line and their fullback was grateful to concede the scrum 5. The visitors won another scrum against the head, and cleared their lines. Left winger Ben Botham took a difficult catch and ran 20 yards before bringing in Boden, who in turn released the electric James. Stopped 15 yards out, Scunthorpe forwards were first there to secure possession and flanker Josh Sarsfield picked and went over wide left. Converted by Boden on 21 minutes, Scunthorpe now led 14-7.
Despite the industrious Kristian Martin being replaced by Charlie Hunt, the intensity did not drop. Centre Charlie Van Gils was dominating the middle ground, supported ably by the outside centre Morgan Turner, whether with their running in attack or solid defence, they stopped any advances that this talented running Ionians team could muster. The visiting coaches were constantly changing personnel, as they could not make any significant progress. In fact, on 25 minutes it was Scunthorpe who would score next. Captain Lewis Meyer would stop an Ionians charge by himself, after the visitor had run through a couple of home defenders. As he tried to take the ball, the referee penalised the visitor, rightly, for not releasing. This penalty and a later kick through from Matthews, had Botham chasing and his pressure had the visitors knocking on. Hooker Jack McGrath, and prop Jon Rigby, would take the next two phases with intelligent picks and go’s. Then it was Legge’s turn and he would not be stopped, as he crashed his way over. Unconverted, 19-7.
Hull Ionians would come back. A slick passing move right to left had their speedster winger go over in the corner from a dubious forward looking pass. As one learned observer on the touchline would say: “the referee has given it, deal with it and move on”. Wise words, that the Greens would do in the second half with a half time score of 19 – 12, with a difficult conversion missed.
The second half would pass so quickly in this most enthralling clash of the division’s top two teams. In truth, Jess Matthews controlled the half with his variety in his kicking game. Long clearances to short chip and chase, his opposite in the Ionians team could not match. No matter how they tried, Ionians could not gain enough territory, as a new replacement centre partnership of Connor Graves and Bram Hollingsworth did as well as the previous Van Gils/Turner had done. The replacemrent prop Sam Longstaff started to secure scrummage ball and Israel Spry-Brittain slotted into the second row with his usual efficiency. Will Greaves’ experience in the last quarter was so valuable, too.
As Ionians chased the game, with time passing, the mistakes occurred. Foot up in the scrum from Hull allowed Captain Meyer to call on Boden to extend the lead to two scores with a sweetly struck penalty from in front of the posts after 20 minutes. 22 -12. As they chanced their arm 30 yards from their own line, on 25 minutes of the second half, the try machine Piers Sciolti became the try provider, as he intercepted a pass out wide. Stopped by excellent Hull scramble defence three yards out, his intelligent offload to Hollingsworth, had him falling over the line, to register a bonus point try and another five points. 27 - 12.
With about enough time to come, Hull had to score quickly, and they nearly did. Reclaiming a kick off, they attacked on their right hand side. Phase after phase would be repelled by Scunthorpe, until, when over the line, they bounced the putdown after amazing, never say die defence from the greens. The visitors would score and convert with the last play of the game, to make the final score 27-19, and to make Scunthorpe Greens Divisional champions with a run of nine victories in their last ten matches.
Man of The match had to be flanker Josh Sarsfield, as he appeared to be everywhere. Jess Matthews was praised by the coaches for his control of the game and special praise was given to captain Lewis Meyer not only for his excellent game and leadership today, but his performances and leadership throughout this league topping season. In truth, anyone who put on the Greens shirt today played really well, as this Hull Ionians came to play fast expansive rugby but met a team that just wanted it more than them.
1. Jonathan Rigby
2. Jack McGrath
3. Aiden Legge
4. Stephen Middleton
5. Matthew Wormold
6. Lewis Meyer
7. Josh Sarsfield
8. Kristian Martin
9. Archie Swain
10. Jess Matthews
11. Ben Botham
12. Charlie Van Gils
13. Morgan Turner
14. Devon James
15. Matty Boden
16. Israel Spry-Brittain
17. Charlie Hunt
18. Bram Hollingsworth
19. Connor Graves
20. Sam Longstaff
21. Will Greaves
22. Piers Sciolti
Report by Carl meyer