The Greens travelled without Ben Hyde, Dave Garbutt and Mick Dunk from the side that beat Peterborough the previous week whilst Steve Parker who was tied up with his RAF duties. Paul Cook took the No. 15 shirt whilst Tom Hughes and David Haig played in the back row and the experienced veteran Phil Jepson coming into the second row.
In bright cold conditions and on a good surface, the home team were first to go through their paces and it required some staunch defending to keep them at bay. However, as is often the case, it was Scunthorpe that went down the other end and managed to drive over from the line-out with Hughes touching down. Paul Cook added the extras and The Greens were ahead by 7 points to nil after 15 minutes of play. With both sides looking dangerous when in possession it invariably took a mistake for the ball to be lost or turned over.
Scunthorpe lost Ollie Cole with a neck injury late in the half but with Hague moving up to the front row and Rory Rendall-Tyrell coming off the bench, The Greens pack still more than held their own in the set-pieces. It was Scunthorpe that struck again in the 37th minute, when following multiple phases, play moved from the Scunthorpe half into the home ‘22’ where Oli Wood was able to break through the home defence for a try. Cook once more added the conversion to give The Greens a 14 points to nil advantage. As the end of the first half approached the home boys exploited the full width of their pitch and Paul Maxwell-keys crossed for the try. The conversion failed but Lichfield once more moved the ball wide and in stoppage time, Chris Milner managed to score on the right hand side of the pitch. Greg Massey this time succeeded with the conversion and his team went into the interval down by only two points at 12 points to 14.
Scunthorpe started the better of the two teams after the break, when they looked after the ball well and made great progress into the home ‘22’. Cook managed to break through by running the ball back from Fullback and linked up with Colin Chapman. He followed his own kick ahead and won the race to the touch-down. Cook once more added the extras and Scunthorpe were ahead by 21 points to 12. Scunthorpe were well in the ascendant and pressured the home line with some good driving play and it was no surprise when Wood crossed for his second try of the match. Although the conversion failed, The Greens were now looking good with a 26 points to 12 advantage. A penalty award in the 16 minute of the second half should really have gone to the corner but instead, Skipper Tom Foster allowed Cook an attempt at goal which failed. Although it looked like an opportunity wasted, Cook once more used his running skills when he snaffled a Lichfield dropped pass and ran in from half-way. He then added the extras for a 33 points to 12 lead after 24 minutes.
Lichfield now threw everything into attack and after 33 minutes was rewarded with a try in the left hand corner. The conversion was unsuccessful but they had now reduced the arears to 33 points to 17. Scunthorpe had the added misery of seeing Phil Jepson yellow carded for an incident leading up to the try. The Staffordshire boys then exploited the numeric advantage and justly acquired their bonus point try after 37 minutes for a 33 points to 22 score-line. This was the final score of an enthralling game which saw Tom Hughes, normally a scrumhalf turning out in the number 7 shirt and doing an excellent job for the team. Tim Robinson had quite a few heroes on the day but none more so than Nick Dyson who ran the set pieces in a very competent way.
The Greens now await a very stern test when they entertain Cheshire outfit Sandbach, at Heslam Park next Saturday. Their visitors have had a series of good wins, which included defeating two of the top three in the league, so a good game in prospect for the final home game before the Christmas break.
Match Report by LWJClayton