For the first time this year Spring had finally arrived and the game was viewed in brilliant sunshine. The Greens fielded a strong squad with Eddie Newsum being the only absentee.
The game started at quite a pace, with visitors Longton showing that they had not come just to make up the numbers but were seriously fighting to avoid the drop. It took the home boys 15 minutes to string together their first cohesive movement which followed other efforts during which poorly judged off-loads were attempted. Some good phases were eventually executed near the visitors ‘22’ and then the ball spun out to the left wing where Colin Chapman exploited the overlap to score in the corner. Paul Cook was unable to convert but his team was now on the board with a 5 points to nil advantage.
Longton continued to remain ambitious but whilst attempting to run the ball out of their own half, they lost possession, which was in turn snapped up by Ben Hyde who sprinted in under the posts. Cook added the extras and Scunthorpe were now leading by 12 points to nil after 21 minutes of play. Scunthorpe was now totally in the ascendant and attacks continued in waves. First Will Robinson was put through a gap and raced in for Cook to convert, then five minutes later Dave Garbutt capitalised on a break by Nick Dyson to drive over for Cook again to improve. So, after 28 minutes of play The Greens had racked up a tally of 26 points to nil. Garbutt then scored again in the 39th minute and Cook again added the conversion for a 33 points to nil score-line. Before the half-time whistle however, Longton got due reward for their ambition when Craig Wilson completed a forward drive to the line. With the kick being unsuccessful, the teams went into the interval with a score-line of 33 points to 5 in favour of the home boys.
Longton came out after the interval the more rejuvenated of the two sides and but together some good passages of play which was rewarded by a try for Sam Evans in the left hand corner. Scott Rawlings was unable to convert and the score was now 33 points to 10 after only 3 minutes of the second period. The Staffordshire boys continued to create more of the early pressure and Scunthorpe was forced into some serious defensive work. After 25 minutes however they gained a try through Will Robinson when he followed a break by Oli Wood to take the final pass and score under the posts. Cook once more added the extras for a 40 points to 10 lead. Only 5 minutes later and the forwards drove over from close range for Ollie Cole to claim the try. Cook once more did the honours and the score-line was now 47 points to 10.
Longton quite fittingly had the final word when Jack Newton-Taylor jump highest to reclaim the ball at the restart and was only stopped short of the line by some desperate scrambled defence. He did however gain the position from which after several phases his team was able to score through Pete Wilshaw. Rawlings added the conversion and the scoreline now read 47 points to 17 with only 5 minutes of normal time remaining. Play was rather scrappy during this period with the most notable features being the yellow carding of Newton-Taylor for a late tackle on Cook and the outstanding contribution of Rory Rendall-Taylor from the home bench.
Scunthorpe now await the visit of newly crowned league champions, Birmingham Solihull to Heslam Park on Saturday for the final league game of the season. Birmingham slipped up in their final home game last Saturday, when they lost to Sandbach by 26 points to 33 whilst The Greens managed a win at Sandbach the previous week. Whatever one reads into these statistics, we will be in for an interesting final fixture.