Greens Take 5 from The Nuns
An exciting game for the spectators but rather worrying for the respective coaches.
The teams ran out in Spring-like weather, as the ground was bathed in bright sunlight. The Greens were still without Jakob Hardy and Colin Chapman but did welcome back Tom Hughes to the bench.
Both teams were happy to exploit the conditions and allowed the ball to move through the hands, on a good playing surface. The home boys were first to strike when Eddie Newsum charged down a kick on the edge of the Nuneaton ‘22’ and won the race to the touchdown. So, after only 5 minutes the home boys were ahead by 5 points to nil, after the conversion had been missed. The Nuns were straight back in the came as they took play into the home half and The Greens were penalised. Ben Cooper stepped up and slotted the penalty to put his side on the board and into the game at only 5 points to 3 down after 8 minutes.
They then improved their position when scrum-half Tom Smitham put out a long flat pass which was taken at speed by Elliott Brown, who finished under the posts. Cooper converted and the Nuns were ahead by 10 points to 5 after 11 minutes. The early scoring frenzy continued as play entered the visitors half and from a break by Hyde, the ball was recycled to Gareth Mist who scampered over from 20 metres out. Paul Cook added the extras and Scunthorpe had now regained the lead with a score-line of 12 points to 10 after 15 minutes. The Nuns were in no way phased and as The Greens attempted to run the ball out of their own half, Brown blocked an attempted kick through and won the race to the re-bound for the try. Cooper was unable to add the extras but his side had once more taken the lead at 15 points to 12 after 17 minutes, in what was turning out to be an exciting game for the spectators but rather worrying for the respective coaches.
The home boys restored some sought of order as once more they battered the Nuns line and Ollie Cole managed to force his way over. The conversion attempt failed but Scunthorpe had now re-taken the lead at 17 points to 15 after 21 minutes. The Nuns continued to have their moments of pressure but failed to come away with any points. It was therefore no surprise when The Greens once again took play into the visitors’ half with a driving run by Grant Elliot and from the subsequent recycled phases, that man Cole again powered his way over. Cook added the conversion and the home boys were looking comfortable with a lead of 24 points to 15 but things could have looked quite different had not a gang tackle, led by Mist not taken a Nuns player out at the corner flag on the stroke of half-time.
As the second half commenced it was clear that both coaches had used strong words to avoid some of the early sloppy play by both teams. It was the visitors that were first to strike and following a series of probes, the ball was moved wide to the left and Jackson Hughes touched down in the left hand corner. The conversion was missed but The Nuns had now reduced the deficit to 24 points to 20 after only 4 minutes of the second period. They continued to enjoy more territory and possession but failed to gain any points on the board as the home defence kept them at bay. The home bays broke the siege and went into the visiting ‘22’. They retained the ball through multiple phases and eventually it was Tom Foster that broke through to score. Cook added the extras and The Greens were now ahead by 31points to 20 after 19 minutes of the second half. Both teams continued to have the opportunities but once more the home defence kept the Nuns at bay. They also gave away several penalties by not satisfying the lady referee Nikki O’Donnell by moving up too quickly in defence.
It was the home boys that eventually got the decisive score when Tom Hughes broke through on the visitors ten metre line and sprinted away, to touch-down in style. Cook added the conversion and the Home boys were looking good at 38 points to 20 after 37 minutes. As play moved into added time, The Greens once more conceded a series of penalties which allowed the Nuns to get their 4th and bonus point try, which was fully deserved for their efforts on the day.
As the news filtered through that Newport had suffered a defeat at Sheffield, The Greens had now further consolidated their position at the top of the table. They now have a week’s break before embarking on a run of six league matches that could all qualify as cup finals.