Greens Take the Title at Ivor Preece Field home of Broadstreet RFC
By Peter Bright
Close fought game, with defences to the fore.
The Greens travelled with a very similar squad to the one that defeated Bridgnorth last week and also had all those not able to play, for whatever reason, present on the team bus. They were not lacking for travelling support either with a bus load leaving Heslam Park to add their voices.
Scunthorpe started in confident mode by keeping the ball through several phases and taking play into the home half. It was Ollie Cole that burst through the home defence going towards the right hand corner and found Colin Chapman in support, who escape from the final remnants of cover and touch down in the corner. Cook was unable to add the extras but The Greens had first points on the board in this vital encounter after only 3 minutes of play. They maintained their high intensity start and managed to keep the Coventry area boys pinned back inside their own half. It was the in-form Sam Morgan that came into the line on the shoulder of Tom Foster that broke through in midfield, also helped by the dummy run of Will Robinson and crossed the line half-way out on the left hand side of the posts. Cook added the conversion and the Scunthorpe boys were now leading by 12 points to nil after 23 minutes of the first half.
They gave Broadstreet no time to settle and once more some powerful running by the pack enabled another two form players in Will Harrison and Jacob Hardy to combine in scoring the third try for the Greens. Cook was unable to improve with the kick but Scunthorpe were looking good at 17 points to nil after 27 minutes of the first half. Rather inevitably the momentum started to alter as the home boys saw more of the ball and also there was the concession of more penalties by the Scunthorpe team, so, Broadstreet started to have more territory. They won a penalty after 31 minutes which was slotted by Cliffie Hodgson for their first points, giving a score-line of 17 points to 3. The home boys also now with more possession and were confident enough to move the ball along the line as they attempted to find a way through the Scunthorpe defensive line. It was influential No. 8 Brett Daynes that straightened the line in mid-field and run in from 25 metres out. Hodgson was once more successful with the boot and the margin was now 17 points to 10 as the first period came to a close.
It was the home side that gained the first points of the second half when Scunthorpe were penalised after only 3 minutes and Hodgson slotted the penalty to leave the score-line now at 17 points to 13. Scunthorpe continued to feel the wrath of the referee and conceded another penalty after 14 minutes for what was regarded as a high tackle, and Hodgson reduced the margin to just one point at 17 points to 16, after 14 minutes of the second half. The referee’s judgment of a high tackle seemed fairly harsh and because Scunthorpe were adjudge to have made two such tackles in a short time, Ollie Cole was sent to the bin. So, now down to 14 players, things were not looking good for The Greens in their attempt to win the game and the title. They managed to come through the crises and to pressure the home boys but either lack of ball retention or some other mistake seemed to get in the way.
Having got Cole back on the pitch they then lost Jay Johnson to the bin with what was adjudged a dangerous tackle. So for the final 9 minutes of normal time and whatever would be added for injuries etc, The Greens would have to manage with a man down. Strangely enough they then created quite a lot of pressure and came very close from a driving maul in the right hand corner. The last 5 minutes of the game were extremely fraught for the travelling support but the boys came good as they held possession for what seemed like forever, as they ran the clock down to the sweet sound of the final whistle.
A great reward for Tim Robinson, his coaching staff and all the squad for what has proved to be hard season. A well earned rest and then preparation for the season to come in National two North.