The Greens welcomed back Guy Mychujluk, Nick Syddall and Ash Dibden for this important fixture at the near half-way point of the season. Steve Parker also boosted the squad with availability from his RAF duties to sit on the bench.
The Shropshire visitors were first to apply pressure, keeping play in the home half with possession rugby. Scunthorpe managed to break from deep through Oli Wood who interchanged with James Dyson and Paul Cook taking play into the visiting ‘22’. The ball was duly recycled and Colin Chapman made the most of the overlap to touchdown after 15 minutes of play. Steve Johnson missed the conversion and Lucs duly struck back only 5 minutes later when Louis Silver converted a penalty to make the scores 5 points to 3 in favour of the visitors.
Luctonians continued to have the greater share of play and again won a penalty on the half-hour but chose not to go for goal. They put the ball in the corner and tried to maul their way over the line. Their initial drive failed but they maintained the pressure which continued for the next 5 minutes before the home boys turned them over and lifted the siege. They were awarded another penalty after 37 minutes and this time Silver converted to give them a 6 points to 5 advantage. The penalty count was at this time extremely disproportionate with the home team not having had one awarded.
The Greens did however take the lead in first half injury time when Steve Johnson intercepted on half-way and touched down under the posts. He then added the extras to take his team into the break with a 12 points to 6 lead. The game had been very tight at this point with both sides gaining very few line breaks in open play and the set pieces marginally in favour of the home side, even though they lost prop, Oli Cole, with a knee injury after 20 minutes.
Scunthorpe started the second period with some high tempo rugby and which was rewarded after only 4 minutes of the second period when they created an overlap on the right which Cook took with aplomb only to be stopped by some desperate cover defence but Sam Morgan was on-hand to receive the pass and touch-down. The difficult conversion was missed but The home boys were now in a good place at 17 points to 6 in the lead. They continued to press for the next 20 minute period and this time it was desperate defending by the visitors that kept them out until the 22nd minute when Johnson struck with a penalty for a 20 points to 6 advantage.
Lucs did break out of their half and following strong forward pressure they squeezed Charlie Grimes into the left hand corner. Silver missed the conversion but they were now back into the game only 20 points to 11 down. Play continued to ebb and flow until the Herefordshire Lads mounted a maul inside the home’22’ which the referee ruled was illegally stopped and awarded a penalty try. With the score line now reading 20 points to 18 in favour of the home team, the final 3 minutes became quite tense. The home pack did the sensible thing and retained the ball for the remainder of that period to gain the points.
Match Report by LWJ Clayton
ps what a fantastic group of travelling supporters; look forward to seeing you all when we travel in April next year