The Greens travelled without last week’s man of the match, Olly Wood and the injured David Haig but nonetheless still had a capable squad. Mick Dunk came in on the wing, with Sam Morgan moving to the centre, whilst Nick Syddall covered the front row position.
The Game started in light drizzle but conditions were still good for running rugby. The home boys were first to show why they were champions at level 6 last season by producing some strong running by both backs and forwards and showing their ability to counter attack. It was the Scunthorpe side however that drew first blood, when they gained a penalty from a strong scrummage which Paul Cook converted after 8 minutes of play. Cook Missed another opportunity in the 17th minute to put his side further in front. It was all hands to the defensive wall for the Greens as the Staffordshire boys made several strong runs, particularly from No. 8 Lelo Gemashe and for long periods Scunthorpe were pegged back into their own half. The Greens also lost Ben Hyde with an arm injury during this period.
It was however the Scunthorpe team that went further ahead when a long raking kick out of his own ‘22’ by Tom Foster was kept in play by home fullback Will Simpson, only for the fast following Will Robinson to kick-on the loose ball and win the race for the touchdown. Cook failed to convert but The Greens were now ahead by 8 points to nil as the half-time whistle approached and so the score remained as the teams went into the break.
Burton were once more first to show their paces as the second period commenced but it was the Scunthorpe team that struck, as strong runs by Hyde (now back on the pitch) and Foster that set up the opportunity for Colin Chapman who finished with a fast diagonal dart to the line. Cook once more failed with the kick but Scunthorpe were now in a strong position at 13 points to nil after 3 minutes of the second half. Cook made amends for the earlier misses when he knocked over a penalty only two minutes later, to give the travelling support the joy of looking at a scoreboard showing them leading by 16 points to nil. The home boys gained a penalty after 11 minutes and this was competently put away by Simpson for the first home points of the match.
As the home boys tired, Scunthorpe’s forward effort was building and following a strong run by Jakob Hardy several phases were executed to enable the hard working Grant Elliot to score. The try was not improved but Scunthorpe were now looking good with a 21 points to 3 advantage after 20 minutes of the second half. As the half hour approached, The Greens gained a position from a penalty in the home ‘22’ and the pack executed the “catch & drive” for the experienced Dave Garbutt to touch down for the bonus point try. With the score-line now at 26 points to 3, Scunthorpe were playing with great confidence and Cook had his kicking boots back as he struck a penalty as injury time approached. There was enough time left for replacement Eddy Newsome to stretch out a long arm for the final try. Cook converted with his best strike of the day for The Greens victory at 36 points to 3.
Scunthorpe now go into their home fixture against old Three Counties rivals, Derby, with plenty of confidence. This game will be a double header as it also counts as the first round of the Three Counties cup.
Match Report by Louie Clayton