Nuneaton Vs Scunthorpe
Saturday 3rd October 2015
National 3 Midlands
Scunthorpe travelled to the Liberty Way ground, home of Warwickshire rivals Nuneaton, with several changes to the line-up of the previous week. As neither of the props were able to travel, The Greens started out with Nick Syddall and the returning Guy Mychujluk in the front row and Chris Donk providing cover from the bench.
All the good intentions of Ash Dibden travelling up from Cardiff did not come to pass and therefore Steve Johnson moved up from fullback to centre and the versatile Colin Chapman covering the last line of defence, for his first 80 minute stint since injury, during a pre-season game. With Sam Morgan also injured since the game at Longton, Coach Tim Robinson has had to stretch the squad to cover the cracks.
Playing conditions were ideal as the game kicked-off early (2.00pm) to allow for the away team and support to get back and watch the England Vs Australia world cup match. After the initial sparring, The Greens exerted the greater pressure with the pack doing great work at the set pieces and excellent broken field running from James Dyson and the back row.
It took until the 11th minute to register the first points when Steve Johnson stepped up to kick a relatively easy penalty awarded against Nuns inside their ‘22’. As the pressure increased, so the penalty count mounted and eventually a home player was yellow carded in the 17th minute. The Greens took advantage and with play moving first left and then right, Tom Foster was able to run through the remnants of the cover and score close to the posts. Johnson added the extras and Scunthorpe were in the lead by 10 points to nil after 23 minutes.
The Home boys eventually took play into the Scunthorpe half and when The Greens were penalised at the ruck by referee Mr David Huson who they have had dealings with before and by now should know very well, Joe Wilson converted the penalty for Nuns and put them into the game at 10 points to 3 after 27 minutes.
Scunthorpe were not long in replying and when the pack set up an opportunity for a catch & drive, James Dyson made the touch down. Johnson again converted for a 17 points to 3 advantage on the half-hour. There now followed what could well have been the pivotal moment of the match when Guy Mychujluk fielded a high ball in his own ‘22’ only to be felled by a high tackle. With the penalty about to be awarded he rather foolishly lashed out at his opponent, with the result that he was given a red card and the penalty was reversed. Wilson struck the penalty for Nuns and the scoreline was now 17 points to six after 35 minutes. The Scunthorpe front row resources were now sorely stretched with the inexperienced Chris Donk having to do his duty on the tight head side of the scrum.
The Greens at first made light of the numeric deficiency and attacked boldly through their three-quarters with Foster and Johnson combining well for the later to have an unopposed run to the posts. Johnson again added the extras and his side were looking good at 24 points to 6 with half-time approaching. What with injuries and red cards etc, Mr Huson played an extra 10 minutes of the first period, towards the end of which Wilson struck another penalty for the home boys to make the deficit 24 points to 9 at the interval.
The second half was always going to be a war of attrition as far as the Greens were concerned due to both the numeric deficiency and the lack of experience in the front row. The situation became worse when Nuns score from a drive by their pack in the 11th minute which was converted by Wilson making the score board read 24 points to 16 to Scunthorpe. The momentum was now with the home team and after 18 minutes of the second half they struck again with another Wilson penalty to reduce the areas even further to 24 points to 19, with 22 minutes still remaining excluding any injury time.
Slowly and with dogged determination the tide turned once more and managing to satisfy the referee, the penalties went with, rather than against The Greens. Johnson was successful with a long range effort in the 28th minute to give his team some breathing space. As Nuns became more desperate they conceded another penalty with 2 minutes of normal time on the clock which Johnson again converted and virtually sealed victory. Making a personal contribution of 20 points he certainly wiped away memories of the previous week when he was only able to convert 1 of the 6 tries scored. So, an eventual win by 30 points to 19 which will live long in the memories of the travelling faithful.
Next week Scunthorpe entertain Old Halesonians who sit second in the table, are undefeated and level on points with top team, Hinckley. An interesting game in prospect.
Match report courtesy of Mr L Clayton