The Greens travelled to Cheshire with an unbeaten record during the new year but came unstuck against a side that seemed to want the points so much more.
Right from the start it was the home side that started with a greater urgency and were on the board after only 4 minutes through a penalty from Fullback Benny Elliott. From the restart a box-kick was launch and was fumbled by Scunthorpe and gratefully accepted by winger Jack Leach, who touched down, halfway out to the left of the posts. Elliott failed to convert but made amends shortly thereafter with another penalty strike and the Bach were in front by 11 points to nil after only 9 minutes of the first half.
For the first time, Scunthorpe got their hands on the ball and went through a couple of phases before the ball was moved to the right, where a poor pass was intercepted by Gary Neihaus who sprinted in under the posts. Elliott added the extras to give his side an eighteen points to nil lead after only 14 minutes of the first half. The Scunthorpe team looked as if they had not got off the bus and this was compounded ten minutes later when they conceded a penalty try from a set piece. Sandbach were now looking already home and dry after only 26 minutes, with a 25 points to nil lead. They had started with a high tempo and intensity game and did not allow Scunthorpe any time on the ball to impose their style of play. They did manage a penalty by Paul Cook to get their first points on the board after 36 minutes of the half. The Greens were happy to go into the interval and take time to re-group and get back into the game.
Getting on the board early in the second period was vital to The Greens but it was still the Bach that asked the questions. They missed a penalty opportunity after only 4 minutes and then scored a try in the 10th minute when a grubber kick was pushed through down the right wing and when the ball was not secured, Kieran Alsop was on-hand to touchdown. The successful Elliott conversion put his side ahead by 32 points to 3.
Rather belatedly Scunthorpe got some momentum into their game and when a home player was sent to the bin, The Greens took the opportunity to pressure the home line and Jakob Hardy, who had been their best player thus far managed to get over for a try. Cook added the extras and the scoreboard now read 32 points to 10. Sandbach still created quite a lot of pressure and following a series of penalties, Oli Wood was sent to the bin for a late tackle. There followed some frantic defence to keep the home team at bay and they managed to withstand the siege which include a missed penalty kick and a series of scrummages near their own line. Some strong running by Hardy resulted in a good position in the opposition half and following a penalty as added time approached, the ball was put into touch in the home ‘22’ from whence the drive went close to the line and Dave Garbutt drove over. Cook again added the conversion and the final whistle saw a score-line of 32 points to 17.
The Greens must now regroup as the pack closes in. Next Saturday they travel to Syston in Leicestershire, who although bottom of the league, have put in a series of wins that sees them with an outside chance of avoiding relegation and thus a dangerous opponent.