Scunthorpe travelled to the depths of Leicestershire for an early season festival against several teams who most of the children hadn’t even heard of let alone played before.
Scunthorpe again was blessed with swelled numbers despite the long journey into a completely new constituent body.
Scunthorpe made camp in the impressive , new surroundings of Coalville Rugby club, and no sooner were the children off the bus then they were into their first game, Coalville called the sides A and B but this had no bearing on the ability of either side, we preferred to call them Rhinos and Crusaders, with both being equally matched.
Played several matches their first was against Ashby the first of many new sides, Rhinos ran into a 3-2 lead with scores coming from Alfie Taylor x 2 and Jack Murr, the journey wasn’t fully out of the legs and despite the efforts in the first half, Ashby came back at them winning the second half 3-2 Scunthorpe scores coming from Murr and Taylor securing a hat-trick.
Scunthorpe walked off and straight into their next game against some big runners from Huntingdon A, Scunthorpe found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-4 score line and suffered there heaviest defeat for well over a year, part of this was still the journey and another part was due to the referee not playing an offside law meaning that Huntingdon were coming out of the line early and were stood waiting for the next tag, add this to their impressive big strike runners two of which dwarfed even Scunthorpe’s biggest players and had already learnt how to offload and present the ball taking it to ground when tagged meant Scunthorpe although a valiant attempt they couldn’t live with the Huntingdon side. Scunthorpe’s scores coming from Charley Wilkinson, Taylor x 2 and Alfie Oldridge.
Scunthorpe’s next game they met Notts Boots Corsairs a side they had played in the NLD 3/4 place playoff last year another close game took place but Rhinos were now fully awake and defence were on top of anything that Corsairs could throw at them Rhinos running out 9-5 winners with scores coming from Joseph Bingham, Oldridge, Murr, William Ogg, William Horner x 2, Emily Milner, Taylor x 2
Scunthorpe then played there hosts Coalville and again it showed that they were now well into their stride, Coalville who admittedly were inexperienced still had plenty of opportunity with the ball but Rhino’s were well on top running out 9-4 winners with scores coming from Taylor, Murr x 3, Ogg, Oldridge, Bingham, Horner and Milner
The crusaders suffered from the heavy legs which struck there sister side and to make matters even worse they were up against the big runners of Huntingdon, again the offside wasn’t played and again the big runners made the difference despite Scunthorpe’s best efforts in defence and they ran out 8-2 winners with Crusaders scores from Daniel Longden and Dante Salvatore Chapman.
Scunthorpe then went onto play Oakham another new side and the journey started to ease from their legs as they raced into a 3-2 lead with scores coming from Luckasz Grabz who had a fantastic day being elusive throughout, Lewis Talbot and Salvatore-Chapman (whose stature and speed made it hard for the defence to get hold of him).
Oakham returned after the break and set off after Scunthorpe Talbot, Grabz and Green tagging as though their lives depended on it however they couldn’t halt Oakham running in 3 tries and Scunthorpe ran out of time to score the winner replying with 2 of their own through Grabz and Salvatore-Chapman. 5-5.
Crusaders then went into another game against Oakham B and again despite the strong defensive effort Scunthorpe were on the wrong end of a 5-4 score line, Scunthorpe scores coming through Chris Green and Grabz bagging a hat-trick.
Crusaders played Notts Boots Corsairs A in a high scoring game but it was the Nottingham side who came out on top scoring two in the last throws of the game with a turnover to just push themselves further in front and time ran out for Scunthorpe to get back the final score being 8-6 Jack Gardener getting the first and Longden grabbing a record 5 tries in one game, most of these were through strong support play backing up his team mates which was pleasing to see. The Nottingham coach with a nice touch said that playing Scunthorpe was always a pleasure and they were pleased to see new players coming through from the NLD tournament.
Scunthorpe sides then came together as the tournament descended into a bit of chaos with no-one knowing who they should be playing or on which pitch Ilkeston challenged Scunthorpe to a game which was duly accepted and Scunthorpe ran out 8-7 winners which could have been a wider score line had Scunthorpe not started to make mistakes which tiredness and the weather change was a factor. Scunthorpe scores coming from Taylor x 2, Longden, Chris Green x 2, Grabz, Ogg and Harry Robinson.
Scunthorpe finished the day by playing off against each other and it showed that both sides were evenly matched with the score changing hands and ending at 5-5 Rhinos tries coming from Ogg, Murr, Oldridge and Taylor (who finished the day with a massive 11 tries) Crusaders coming from Green, Robinson, Grabz x 2 and Longden.
Scunthorpe then made there way over to the presentation and after some delay while matches were unbelievably still being played so late on into the day, Scunthorpe walked away with the spirit of rugby award which can only mean we played in a fair yet competitive way. Lots and lots of games and some very tired children, however, impeccably behaved and enthusiastic throughout a pleasure for coaches, managers and parents alike.