Following early morning rain, the day turned dry and cloudy prior to kick-off. The travelling support was enhanced as the Greens u/13 squad played a curtain raiser against their Cheshire counterparts and were successful.
The senior team travelled with a strong squad from which Paul Cook was the only absentee. Having had a tortuous journey due to road works etc, the boys had to forego their full warm-up and so started the game somewhat under cooked. A very competent home team retained the ball well during the early exchanges and stretched the Green defence. Adding to the Scunthorpe woes was the early loss of Ollie Cole and Eddie Newsum through injury. Scunthorpe conceded a penalty for a scrum infringement after 15 minutes but Benny Elliot missed the kick. He got another opportunity after 20 minutes and this time made no mistake and put his team on the board.
The Greens were still not into their stride and were definitely not in tune with the referee and conceded yet again in the 25th minute, for another successful strike by Elliott, for a 6 points to nil lead by the home team. As they gradually got their game together, Tom Foster brought his threequarters into play and from a slick move which also involved Dave Garbutt, Will Robinson ran a tight angle and made a break in mid-field which put him clean through and under the posts only for the referee to blow for a forward pass. Scunthorpe did get some reward when they were awarded a penalty in the 31st minute and Robinson put the ball between the sticks from 35 metres and to the right of the posts. The Greens were now only 6 points to 3 down and back in the game. Both Teams threatened in the final 10 minutes and as the game entered first half injury time a mistake on the left touch-line let the home boys in and they kicked the ball forward only to see it cross the dead ball line. During the chase after the ball, Colin Chapman was adjudged to have pulled back a Sandbach player and was yellow carded. The teams went into the break with the home side leading by 6 points to 3.
The Greens started the second period a man down and for the early stages had to do some hard defensive work during which Oli Wood, Grant Elliot and Gareth Mist were outstanding. After 10 minutes The Greens gained possession inside their own half and the ball was moved towards the right, Robinson saw the outside gap and raced clear of two men before beating a third, for an outstanding try in the right hand corner. His conversion attempt was unsuccessful but Scunthorpe was now in the lead by 8 points to 6. The Greens should have had another score when Foster made a break from half-way and when confronted by the last defender, he attempted to off-load to Chapman. He unfortunately had to check to take the pass and was therefore stopped short. Shortly thereafter, Foster was carded when Sandbach took a quick penalty inside there own ‘22’ and he made the tackle without retreating ten metres. Despite this, Scunthorpe were still in the ascendant and following a penalty award in the 34th minute, Robinson once more put the ball between the posts from half-way. The scoreboard now showed the Greens were ahead by 11 points to 6. Another monster strike from inside his own half from Robinson increased the Scunthorpe lead to 14 points to 6 in the 37th minute.
Sandbach now threw everything into attack and the home fans were rewarded when J. Jepps made a strong run down the left wing and the wrong-footed the cover to score half-way out on the left. A successful conversion would put them to within a point but much to the relief of the travelling support, the kick failed. Desperate defence by the Greens during added time managed to secure the points in a game where small margins would decide the outcome.
Tim Robinson would be well pleased to take the points and the manor in which all the squad showed the character needed to secure victory. Next Saturday The Greens welcome Longton to Heslam Park with their old Staffordshire adversaries battling hard to avoid relegation and should therefore not be underestimated.