The Greens fielded a strong squad with Oli Wood returning in the centre and Jakob Hardy in the back row. Eddie Newsum was the only absentee from the regulars.
The visitors from Newport in Shropshire had replaced Scunthorpe at the top of the table and would be hard to knock off their perch. Playing conditions were like those on a warm spring day with a fine game in prospect.
The Greens had the better of the early exchanges and took play into the Newport ‘22’. Just as the visitors thought that they had cleared their lines, the ball was fielded by Colin Chapman who linked with fullback Paul Cook and Cook suddenly found himself in acres of space and raced in to score half-way out to the left of the posts. He was unable to add the extras but the home boys had 5 points to nil lead with only 5 minutes on the clock.
Inevitably the visitors came back into the game and used their big ball carriers to drive into the home ‘22’. Scunthorpe were penalised at the breakdown but fullback Holder missed the kick. This was a let-off for the home team and although opportunities were created, particularly from a good break by Tom Foster, passes did not go to hand and potential scores went to waste. It took until the 29th Minute before the home boys retained possession through several phases, before moving the ball to the right for Cook to cross for his second try. This time he did add the extras and The Greens had taken a 12 points to nil lead after 29 minutes.
Newport also had their fare share of possession and it was only desperate defending that kept them out. It was during a period of some strong driving play that home scrum-half Josh Bird was yellow carded. Newport now took advantage of their superior numbers and Fly-half Leonard managed to sprint through a gap to score under the posts. Holder converted and the Shropshire lads were back in the game at only 12 points to 7 down, going into the interval.
Newport came out for the second half all fired up and were playing some high intensity rugby. They were rewarded after 9 minutes when Henry Vaka was able to power over from close range. The kick was missed but they had nonetheless drawn level on the scoreboard at 12 points all after only nine minutes of the second half. The Greens had to regroup and re-take the initiative. This they duly did and were rewarded with a Cook Penalty after 19 minutes. Scunthorpe again won a penalty in the 27th minute which Cook slotted, for an eighteen points to 12 lead.
The Salopians had their moments and gained two kickable penalty chances, only to go for the line-out option which was stopped by some excellent home defence. The Greens took play down into the visitors half and from a ruck on the ‘22’ Nick Dyson was quick to see the undefended area and ran through to score. Cook converted to give the home boys a healthy 25 points to 12 lead in the 37th minute of normal time. Newport once more constructed their driving attack and in injury time they managed another try through second row forward Buckley, converted by Holder to bring them to within a score of the home team at 25 points to 19. Scunthorpe managed to control the few remaining moments and run out the winners. The Scunthorpe lines-out were so solid on their own ball and managed to steal quite a few of their opponents throws, that they were unrecognisable from the game two weeks ago at Luctonians.
It was always going to be a close affair but The Greens managed to take their chances with Cook doing well and only missing one kick on the day.
Match Report by LWJClayton DSO & Bar(only when somebody else is buying!!)