Scunthorpe welcomed Sandbach and turned out a squad that included Oli Wood back from injury. It turned out to be a very tough affair with the home side managing to triumph by 15 points to 8.
The Cheshire boys were completely the opposite what they have been in the past. The fast flowing game with the ball moved out wide had gone and instead we found a team that competed very hard at close quarters and were looking to scrummage their opponents off the park. A flavour of this was seen at the first scrummage of the game when the home boys were driven back. Sandbach opened with high intensity and contested hard at every breakdown. They established a position within the home ‘22’ and following several phases, the ball was moved wide to the right where Jack Leach crossed in the corner. The conversion was missed but the visitors had taken a 5 points to nil lead after only 7 minutes of play.
Scunthorpe managed to gain some possession and put the ball through the hands for Sam Morgan to use his strength and go over in the right hand corner. Paul Cook was unable to convert but the home boys were now level after 11 minutes. Scunthorpe maintained the ascendancy and kept the visitor’s defence at full stretch. Cook converted a penalty after 22 minutes to put his team ahead by 8 points to 5. Although both sides threatened, it was Sandbach that had Liam Carpenter despatched to the bin, during some desperate defence. Taking advantage, the home team battered the visitors’ line and the force of nature that is Ollie Cole, powered his way over. Cook added the extras for a 15 points to 5 lead after 36 minutes and so the score remained until half-time.
The visitors started the second period quite re-invigorated and put the home boys under immediate pressure. They gained a penalty, converted by Nick Allsop after 6 minutes of the second half and put themselves only a converted try behind, at 15 points to 8. Although The Greens had the wind at their backs, they seemed unable to use the elements, with one big kick to exit from their own half, instead they tried to keep the ball in hand but very little headway was made.
Sandbach kept up the pressure and what with The Greens conceding a succession of penalties, Play continued in their ‘22’ for long periods. Sandbach seemed to put all their faith in their scrummage and although there was some success, they were unable to make any final breakthrough, being penalised or being turned over themselves on occasions. Many of the penalties that they opted to scrummage were eminently kickable and would have made an impact on the scoreboard. Even with Gareth Mist in the bin after 29 minutes, Scunthorpe managed to keep the visitors at bay, with some outstanding defence.
As time ran out for Sandbach, their attacks became more and more frantic but the home boys held out without any alarms up to the final whistle. The win keeps the Greens on top of the league table and look forward to the break next week before entertaining Syston from Leicestershire on the 17th November.