For their first game of the new year, The Greens travelled to Derby’s Haslams Lane ground and use of the 3G surface. Whilst they had long term absentees, Nick Syddall and David Haig back in action, they were without Ollie Cole, Tom Hughes and another long term absentee in Oli Wood.
Having last played on a synthetic surface over two years ago at Preston, this was still new territory for the Scunthorpe boys. They however, had a bright start, having secured possession at the kick-off through Jacob Hardy, they retained the ball as they took play into the home ‘22’ and were rewarded with a penalty which was calmly slotted by Paul Cook. This gave Scunthorpe an early 3 points to nil lead after only 4 minutes of play. The Greens continued to maintain the pressure and after 24 minutes Cook knocked over a second penalty to take his team further in front by 6 points to nil. The yellow carding of a Derby player in the build-up, helped the Scunthorpe cause as they were already showing much more control and intensity than in the recent past.
Derby had their turn with the ball, carrying hard into the Greens half and were rewarded with a penalty, converted by McGrath Van Wyk, for a break-down infringement. So, after 29 minutes the game was close at 6 points to 3 in favour of The Greens. Scunthorpe were still the dominant side with most of the territory and possession. They had a try turned down when Liam Brunt went over in the left-hand corner when the pass was adjudged forward. Pressure did however bring it’s reward when Tom Foster made a half-break and managed to put in a clever off-load to the supporting Grant Elliott, who touchdown close to the posts. Cook added the extras and The Greens were looking good with a 13 points to 3 lead as the first half came to a close.
Scunthorpe started the second period with the same intensity as the first and soon had the home side under pressure. Cook came into the line and burst through 30 metres out to touchdown half-way out to the right of the posts, only to see his effort ruled out due to an obstruction. When the decision was questioned by Tom Foster, he was sent to the bin. Lots of incident with only 2 minutes of the second half underway. More was to follow when Benn Hyde made a good break out of his own half and when he was stopped on the home ‘22’, an action in the tackle led to a home player being carded after 16 minutes of the second period. Taking advantage, the subsequent penalty was put into the home ‘22’ and Greens drove over from close range for Dave Garbutt to touchdown for the try. Cook converted for a 20 points to 3 lead after 17 minutes.
The home boys now had their turn with the ball and showed some good skills in moving the ball out to the right from a set scrum where Callum Slater was able to squeeze over in the corner. Van Wyk was unable to add the extras, so The Greens still maintained the lead by 20 points to 8 after 24 minutes of the second half. Derby still maintained the ascendency and put The Greens under concerted pressure. Some excellent defending kept them at bay until nearly at the end of normal time, they bundle over as their big pack drove to the line. The Van Wyk conversion was successful and Derby had now reduced the gap to 20 points to 15 with the game moving into injury time. After 5 minutes of injury time, it was the Scunthorpe pack who maintained possession through multiple phases and eventually won a penalty, which Cook superbly struck to consolidate a 23 points to 15 victory for The Greens.
Match Report by LWJ Clayton