Having had the encouragement of a decisive win at Longton the previous week, the Greens looked forward to taking their form into the home fixture with their Shropshire visitors.
With Guy Mychajluk unavailable, Jack Leaning came in for his first game of the season at prop. Great praise is heaped on Ash Dibden who gave up the opportunity of watching a world cup match at Leeds, to play on Saturday. The boys were also without the injured Sam Morgan but Oli Wood came in at centre.
The game kicked off in ideal playing conditions of sunshine and a firm playing surface. Scunthorpe were first to show and although a couple of line breaks were made they were not fully exploited and it was the Newport team that opened the scoring when on their first visit to the home half they were awarded a penalty which was confidently struck by Liam Holder for a 3 points to nil advantage after only 5 minutes of play.
The Heslam Park boys were soon back on the attack and after going through several phases, Tom Hughes crossed wide on the left for the try. Following a dispute between the touch judges, the kick was ruled not to have passed between the posts, so the score was 5 points to 3 to Scunthorpe after 10 minutes. Both sides seemed very willing to move the ball wide and play was brisk and open.
Scunthorpe were having much the better of territory and possession and as the ball once more move out towards the left wing where full back Steve Johnson came into the line before passing to Mick Dunk who still had some work to do but none the less powered over for a great try. This time there was no doubt about the conversion and The Greens had established a 12 points to 3 lead after 17 minutes.
Newport showed what a dangerous team they can be when they countered from inside their ‘22’ for full back Holder to run in a long range try. Holder also added the extras and after 20 minutes the teams were close at 12 points to 10.
The home boys still maintained territorial advantage with some great defensive play which forced Newport to run from deep inside the own half. This led to mistakes which in turn meant giving away penalties, one of which Johnson converted for a 15 points to 10 lead on 23 minutes.
With the home pack getting stronger in the set pieces as the game unfolded, it was no surprise that when a penalty was conceded by Newport, Tom Foster opted to go for the corner and let his pack do the necessary. As the maul rumbled forward, Hughes spotted the gap and run in his second try. Johnson was unsuccessful with the conversion and a penalty attempt on 37 minutes but the first half was brought to a close in style when James Dyson and Ash Dibden exchanged passes for the later to run in unopposed on half-time. With the kick again being missed, The Greens went into the interval with a 25 points to 10 advantage.
Following the excellent first period it was rather inevitable that the game became somewhat scrappy during the second half.
Scunthorpe attempted to attack from far too deep when finding a position in the opposition half first might have proved to be more fruitful. As it turned out, the first time Scunthorpe gained a foot hold in opposition territory, it was again that man Hughes that crossed out on the right for his hat trick try, following good work by the pack. Johnson was once again unable to add the extras. The Home boys were operating at this point without their tight head, Matt Probert who had been sent to the bin for an alleged illegal tackle.
With the score now standing at 30 points to 10, The Greens became more adventurous and once more starting from deep, the ball was lost and Henry Vaca struck for the visitors when he scooped up the loose ball and raced in from 35 metres. By contrast to Johnson, Holder was very much in kicking form and slotted the conversion after 27 minutes into the second period.
Back came the Home boys and the ball once more went through the hands towards Dunk on the left wing where he powered through the remaining defence to complete his brace. The conversion once more drifted wide but the score line was now a healthy 35 points to 17. Newport had the last word when they executed a ‘catch & drive’ just before the final whistle. Holder once more confirmed his fine kicking form by adding the extras from wide out, for a final score-line of 35 points to 24.
Tim Robinson will be well pleased with the efforts of his side that brought about a bonus point victory and moved the team up the table. The home support also went away satisfied following the previous home game against Lichfield that was snatched away after looking comfortably in control.
The Team should be travelling to Nuneaton in good heart but will be aware that another stern contest awaits.
Report by Mr L Clayton.