Playing in their first game at home since the 3rd February, in conditions that whilst cloudy, at least stayed dry. Despite the recent rainfall in the area the surface of the pitch was in good condition and encouraged running rugby.
Lichfield starting the game strongly and used the full width of the pitch when moving the ball. With the home team in possession there was the tendency to not look after the ball as well as they should have done, and ball was spilled or turned over.
The Staffordshire boys were first on the board when they won a penalty, mid-field and 22 metres out and Greg Massey put the ball between the posts, giving his team a 3 points to nil lead after 15 minutes of play.
The Greens struck back within two minutes with their first piece of purposeful rugby and following quick ball from the ruck, Oli Wood broke through to touchdown near to the posts. Paul Cook converted to put the home boys in front by 7 points to 3.
With both teams testing the defence of the other, it was a surprise that more points did not immediately follow. It was however Lichfield that again won a penalty at the breakdown for Massey to convert on the half-hour, for a 7 points to 6 score-line in favour of the home team.
Scunthorpe again struck back and 5 minutes later a position was gained by some strong driving runs from the pack led by Dave Garbutt. From one of the subsequent phases, Tom Foster managed to squeeze through a gap to touch down. Cook added the extras and Scunthorpe went into the break with a lead of 14 points to 6.
Lichfield came out of the break with some high intensity rugby which was a serious test for the home defence. They soon established a position inside the home ‘22’ and patiently went through the phases until scrum-half Matt Chandler squeezed over. Massey missed the conversion but Lichfield were back in the game at 14 points to 11. Only 2 minutes later and playing with confidence, they moved the ball from their own ‘22’ and taking advantage of some driving play by his pack, Massey made the most of the space gained and ran in from half-way. With his successful conversion following, he had now put his team in the lead by 18 points to 14 and the second half was only 6 minutes old.
This was a serious wake-up call to the home boys and they duly responded when a penalty was place into the visitors ‘22’ and from the driving maul that followed, Dave Garbutt crossed for the try. Cook added the extras and The Greens had retaken the lead 21 points to 18 after 12 minutes of the second period. With some very strict refereeing at the breakdown, both sides suffered and often some hard won territory was lost by both sides. It was Scunthorpe however who came through this period the better when from a scrummage near the visitors ‘22’, space was made by Will Robinson for Colin Chapman to touchdown in the left hand corner. Cook’s conversion attempt failed but The Greens now held an advantage of 26 points to 18 after 34 minutes of the second half.
Lichfield were by no means conceding victory and upped their game with some positive play and in the 38th minute gained a penalty, which was put into the right hand corner from where the pack drove over for Rick Burton to touchdown. Massey’s conversion attempt failed but Lichfield were now only 3 points behind at 26 points to 23 as injury time approached. They were still asking all the questions when all the home support gave a sigh of relief at the final whistle.
Scunthorpe were well pleased by gaining the bonus point win and Lichfield justly deserved their bonus point from the game which sees them move out of the bottom three. This was a stuttering performance by the Greens when compared to some of the recent showings but there is a lot of truth in the saying that ” you only play as well as the opposition allows”.