The Greens saw the return of Nick Dyson, Nick Syddall, Oli Wood, Steve Parker and Paul Cook. Cook was playing his first game of the season. Ben Hyde was still away and we would see James Dyson for the last time before he departs for Australia on a years sabbatical.
As the game entered the 4th minute of the second half the score-line was poised at 18 points to 19 to the visitors but things were to change dramatically thereafter.
The game kicked off with high-flying Newport soon going through their paces and showing their ball handling and high intensity game. The home defence held firm and in fact the best moment came from a break by Colin Chapman which unfortunately failed to bring the first score. Newport registered the first try through right wing Dave Archer when an overlap was created, for a try in the corner. Liam Holder converted for a 7 points to nil lead after 15 minutes. The supporters of both sides had seen an early threat from Henry Vaka and in the 20th minute he took an inside pass and glided away from 3 defenders to score to the right of the posts. Holder again added the extras and Newport now led by 14 points to nil after 20 minutes.
The Greens pack had been slowly gaining the ascendant in the tight and from a penalty into the visiting ‘22’, the forwards drove over for a touch-down by Tim Dunk. Jake Goodison’s conversion attempt struck the upright but Scunthorpe were on the board at 14 points to 5 down. Play continued end to end with both sides threatening to breakthrough. It was The Greens that increased their score with a Goodison penalty for a 14 points to 8 score-line after 28 minutes. Vaka crossed for his second try after 34 minutes with Holder unable to improve the try this time and a lead of 19 points to 8 as half-time approached.
The home boys applied all the pressure late in the half and as the ball moved out to the left following several phases, Vaka deliberately knocked the ball down with an outstretched hand to be yellow carded and the home pack drove over from the resulting penalty for James Dyson to claim the try. Goodison failed with the conversion kick and the teams went into the break with Newport leading by 19 points to 13.
Scunthorpe were fast out of their blocks for the second period and registered a well worked try with an overlap created by Tom Foster which Colin Chapman scored in the left hand corner. The conversion was missed but the game was now poised at 18 points to 19, four minutes into the second half. Having just served his 10 minutes in the bin, Vaka was the man who crossed for what was the pivotal score, when, with the home side on the attack, he intercepted an ambitious pass to run in under the home posts. The extras were added by Holder and from then on tries followed at regular intervals with the home defence and cover work getting very sloppy. The eventual score-line of 52 points 18 does not quite reflect the game as The Greens tried to chase the game and passes were forced resulting in mistakes that were taken full advantage of. The star man for the visitors was Henry Vaka who not only scored 4 tries but managed to orchestrate many of the Newport attacking moves. He was never as successful in his past visits to Heslam Park when he was here as a Longton player or two years ago with Newport.
Scunthorpe will now have to lift themselves for the long trip to Bridgnorth in Shropshire for a first ever visit.