Scunthorpe entertained bottom placed Leicestershire area club, Syston, at Heslam Park, without the regulars Grant Elliott, Oli Wood, Nick Syddall and Liam Brunt. Coming in to cover were Jay Johnson for his debut this season, Colin Chapman, Rory Rendall-Tyrrell and Kane Linklater.
The home boys were straight out of the traps and were on the board after only four minutes with a try. Rendall-Tyrrell made a strong run into the visitors ‘22’ and from a resulting penalty the ball was put into the corner and the forwards rumbled over for Dave Garbutt to touchdown. Paul Cook missed the conversion but the home boys now led by 5 points to nil. If they thought it was going to be an easy ride they were soon disabused when Syston centre Jay Rudkin chipped over the on coming defence and managed to get a favourable bounce to score under the posts. Ian Smith added the extras and the Leicestershire boys were in front by 7 points to 5 after 8 minutes.
They then pulled further ahead after 13 minutes when Smith landed a penalty for a 10 points to 5 advantage. The home team was far too relaxed and lacked the passion of previous weeks with some sloppy defence which allowed Syston very encouraging line breaks. They did manage to inject some urgency back into their play and once more the pack drove play into the visiting ‘22’ when, following some good recycling, the ball was moved to the right wing for Sam Morgan to beat two defenders and finish in some style. A difficult conversion was once more missed but The Greens had now drawn level after 19 minutes.
Now well in the ascendant, The Greens maintained pressure and even though the score resulted from a Syston error, it was nonetheless well taken. Garbutt was once more the creator as he kicked on and retrieved the ball to feed the supporting Eddie Newsum who touched down. A difficult attempt from wide out to the left was unsuccessful but Scunthorpe had re-taken the lead by 15 points to 10 after 31 minutes. Leading up to the try, Syston had a player yellow carded for a high tackle on Colin Chapman. They managed to withstand the home pressure even though a man down and the teams went into the break with the same score-line.
Syston were much more intense after the break and took play into the home ‘22’ and won a penalty after only 5 minutes which Smith converted. The score-line was now an uncomfortably close 15 points to 13 in favour of the home side. With the Leicestershire boys keeping up the pressure, Smith had the opportunity to give his team the lead with another penalty after 10 minutes but the ball struck the upright and bounced clear. Scunthorpe managed to break the stranglehold and eventually take play into the opposition ‘22’ and from a set move the pack drove over for Garbutt to claim his second try. Cook added the extras to give the home boys a 22 points to 13 lead after 31 minutes. Shortly thereafter, Garbutt was unfortunate in not claiming his hat-trick when he robbed an opponent in the tackle and raced in from half-way, only to lose the ball as he touched down.
Scunthorpe finished the game without try scorer, Sam Morgan who was carded for a high tackle as the game went into injury time but no further score resulted. Although The Greens will be disappointed with their performance, credit must go to the visitors who looked anything but a team who are currently propping up the league.
Next week Scunthorpe travel to Sheffield, who although in sixth place in the league, are currently in a good run of form and have not lost at home. It will be a historic meeting as the clubs have never played in the same league before and even back in the old amateur days, The Greens could only boast a very occasional fixture, going back into the 1960’s.