A tough contest was predicted and so in turned out to be, with the final result in doubt up to the final whistle. It was a game of small margins where either side would take full advantage of any error by the other.
The Greens welcomed back the experienced Dave Garbutt and the influential Ben Hyde to the pack whilst the threequarters remained unchanged.
The Early exchanges were mainly confined to mid-field until the home boys made in-roads into the Sandbach ‘22’ where they won a penalty for an offence at the break-down. Paul Cook stepped up and converted from an easy position to give Scunthorpe a 3 points to nil lead after 10 minutes. An injury to Ollie Cole meant that the home team lost their power scrummager too early in the game. The Greens continued to enjoy greater possession and territory and as the pack drove closer to the line, Josh Bird took an inside pass to finish half-way out to the left of the posts. Cook failed to add the extras but Scunthorpe had an 8 points to nil advantage after 22 minutes. This was further extended 6 minutes later when Cook was successful with his second penalty attempt for an eleven points to nil lead. The Cheshire boys had been kept at bay through some hard defensive work but they were rewarded with a penalty in the 38th minute in a position in front of the posts just outside the home ‘22’. Benny Elliott stepped up for the kick and to everyones amazement, the match winner, with his goal kicking of the previous week at Peterborough, pushed his kick wide. This was the last significant action of the first half and the teams went into the break with the home boys in a relatively happy position of leading by 11 points to nil.
Fortunes can change very quickly, but the home supporters were stunned when Sandbach came out with all guns blazing and aided by some sloppy play from the home boys, they scored two tries in the space of 5 minutes. The first was by scrum-half Cameran Crampton when he took advantage of a gap in the defence created by the driving play of his forwards and the second was by full-back Elliott Morris who took advantage of the space created by an arcing run by Billy Elliott. Elliott was successful with both conversions and suddenly his team was in the lead by 14 points to 11.
Scunthorpe fought back and with Cole back on the pitch, there followed a strong line-out drive and subsequent phases, from which Dave Garbutt was able to touch down. Cook was unable to improve but The Greens had taken back the lead by 16 points to 14 after 14 minutes of the second half. The visitors once again struck back and after a series of drives were stopped, the referee awarded a penalty to Sandbach which was slotted over by Elliott to give his team the lead again by 17 points to 16 after 24 minutes of the second half.
This lead did not last long as once more the home pack drove play into the home half, from where scrum-half Bird made the break which was carried on by Gareth Mist and finished by Hyde for the try. Although the kick was missed, The Greens had once more taken the lead by 21 points to 17 with 14 minutes more left on the clock. Sandbach again laid siege to the home line and only some outstanding defence kept them at bay and Scunthorpe saw out the game with some strong play from their pack. There was a moment of late drama when Colin Chapman intercepted an opposition pass on half-way but was unable to reach the line or link up with his support for a final score.
This result now has The Greens winning 5 of their last 6 games and Tim Robinson will hope this continues when the boys travel to Stanley Mathews Way to take on Longton (Stoke), who play in the shadow of the City football ground.