The Greens travelled to Northampton with a few changes to the line-up from their last league game against Old Hales. Oli Wood made a welcome return from injury to take his place in the centre. There was a change in the back row with the versatile Ash Dibden moving to in to cover for the injured Jake Barron and Si Weller making a return to the starting line-up, so Nick Syddall reverted to the bench.
The game started in fine weather and for the early exchanges both teams attempted to move the ball wide but neither gaining any serious advantage. Scunthorpe was how ever gaining a measure of control at the set pieces. After 19 minutes of play a penalty for Scunthorpe was kicked into the home ‘22’ and from the ‘catch & drive’, the pack drove the ball over for a James Dyson touchdown wide on the left. The conversion was missed but The Greens had made a statement and had a 5 points to nil lead.
The weather gods then intervened and for the next 20 minutes players and spectators were subjected to what seemed like the start of the monsoon season. This changed the whole dynamic of play and whatever good intentions and running tactics the teams may have harboured were now out of the window and the rest of the game would be about hard nosed pragmatism.
The teams went into the interval with the score still at 5 points to nil in Scunthorpe’s favour and it was no surprise that both teams chose to spend the interval in the dry and warmth of the changing room.
The home boys started the second period with a greater sense of purpose and immediately put The Greens under pressure. The ball was kept in the Scunthorpe ‘22’ and following a series of drives for the line and recycles, home centre Matt Love drove through the visiting defence for the try. Tom Goodman converted and the Old Boys were in front for the first time in the game after only 6 minutes of the second period.
O N’s maintained the pressure and may well have gone further ahead after 14 minutes but Goodman’s penalty drifted wide. Scunthorpe weathered the storm in both senses and with their scrummage starting to put the home boys under a lot of pressure, they gradually turned things round.
Steve Johnson had a long range attempt on 27 minutes into the second half but the ball was pull across the post in difficult conditions. The Greens did manage to keep the home boys in their own half of the pitch and the reward was an easier kick for Johnson which he gratefully accepted after 37 minutes of the second half to once more re-claim the lead at 8 points to 7. It was now all about grinding out the win and The Greens pack help by solid mid-field defence saw out the rest of the time to secure the points.
It was never pretty but it gained the objective of taking the points on a day when the weather conditions dictated the tactics that would win the day.
With another weekend at rest from league rugby, The Greens will have ample time to prepare for the visit of Peterborough Lions on the 7th November and another tough game in prospect.
Match report courtesy of Mr L Clayton