USING the cliche ‘a game of two halves’ would not be correct as Scunthorpe RUFC’s winning run came to an end in surprising fashion at Syston.
The trip to Leicestershire was more a match of ‘three-quarters and one quarter’ as the Greens let slip a 24-7 lead with 25 minutes to play in an eventual 31-24 defeat.
On the back of eight successive victories in all competitions, the Heslam Park boys started with great conviction, moving the ball at pace and showing great efficiency at rucks.
Steve Johnson opened the Greens account with a penalty after nine minutes and then converted a Keiran Bournes try to which Dave Garbutt had made the initial inroads.
Syston inevitably came more into the game, albeit without really looking as if they would break through.
Instead Scunthorpe continued to ask most of the questions.
Just after the hour mark Col Chapman was stopped just short of the line and though Ash Dibdin was sent to the bin for protesting after his side had been penalised at a ruck, the visitors still registered the next score.
Having won a penalty at a scrummage, Tom Foster put the ball into the corner and the pack drove close to the line before James Dyson broke away to make the touchdown. Johnson once more converted and Scunthorpe were 17-0 ahead.
Syston did manage to make their superior numbers tell just before the break when they stretched the Scunthorpe defence to the right before an astute kick to the left found an unmarked player who strolled over for the try. The subsequent conversion took the teams into the break with the Greens leading 17-7.
Scunthorpe were again first out of the blocks in the second period and following a breakthrough by Jake Barron, play was taken right up to the opposition line. From the subsequent scrummage, Scunthorpe took the ball against the head and good quick hands out to the left saw Johnson send Chapman over for the try. Johnson’s outstanding conversion made the scoreline 24-7 in favour of the Greens.
Fifteen minutes into the half Syston reduced the arrears with a penalty, but still there was no indication of what was to come and for the following 10 minutes the Heslam Park boys managed to waste several opportunities to put the game to bed.
When a pass from Dibdin missed all of his support, the home side recovered possession and sent the ball down the pitch deep into Scunthorpe territory.
They then turned over several balls at the breakdown with the visitors being penalised and as they began to get upset with some of the refereeing decisions, Syston’s confidence rose.
They took play into the Greens half and drove the ball over from a line out and the successful conversion meant the score line was 24-17 with little over 10 minutes to play.
But with their tails now well up, the hosts scored two further converted tries to wrap up victory in a frantic last few minutes.