This was a truly amazing game with a finale that will take some beating. Scunthorpe yet again grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat with an outstanding performance at Heslam Park.
The Greens got off to a great start playing a high tempo game. Chris Neal missed an early penalty then Longton began to find their feet. From a silly Scunthorpe penalty Longton took a quick tap and their strong running centre Hendry Vaka raced through to score, Chris Buck missed the extra two. On 20 minutes Chris Neal was presented with his second penalty, after the Longton scorer was yellow carded, which Neal duly converted. The two sides were very evenly matched at this point and they swapped a further penalty each, Neal and Buck duly converting. Then on the half hour the long striding Longton full back and captain Luke Fowles raced through a poor defence to score a try in the corner, Buck missed the conversion. Scunthorpe seemed to be shell shocked and their heads went down. However, the home side managed to stay in touch with another Chris Neal penalty after a second yellow card, this time for hooker Wilson. The Greens then suffered an easy turnover and Kaka scored his second try to put the score at 9 points to 18.
The second half was one to savour as Scunthorpe went on to score five tries. The first try was well taken by Ben Wright making his first senior appearance for three years. It was a text book backs try as they took quick ball off the top of a line out and moved it swiftly through the backs for Wright to use his pace and power to dive for the line. Chris Neal missed the kick. Gavin Drewry was sent to the bin for hands in the ruck. From the resulting penalty Longton took a scrum and fly half Chris Buck scored a simple try with a four man overlap. Buck failed to convert his own try but his team were managing to keep Tim Robinson’s men at arm’s length. However, Scunthorpe had other ideas, this time Tom Foster scored a superb try by receiving a ball from Rewiti Vaimoso. The talisman that is Vaimoso caught a long kick and after his trademark step made inroads to feed the Green’s skipper who sprinted down the line to score in the corner. Scunthorpe tried to attack from deep and this backfired. A mix up in midfield saw Vaka snatch the ball and score a gift of a try which Buck converted. Longton were now 19 – 30 in front with 15 minutes to play Scunthorpe needed to stay within one score to have any chance. It was to be Vaimoso to score next from the solid scrum a quick pass found ‘Woody’ and he did what he does best by bullocking his way over to score. Now at 24-30 Scunthorpe were in touch but gave away a silly penalty which Buck converted to go 9 points in front.
With only ten minutes left the home side were playing determined and aggressive rugby. They battered the opponents 22 only to give away another silly penalty which Buck converted to stretch the lead to 2 scores in front. Then after a couple of early errors Howard Bishop made good with a well taken try. Nick Dyson stole the ball in contact and some soft hands from Ben Wright saw Bishop with ball in hand but two defenders trying to bundle him into touch. However he twisted and turned and managed to get the ball down and put Scunthorpe back in condition at 29-33. The Greens’ tails were up and they came back time and again only to be thwarted by Longton committing a string of penalties. Vaimoso had chance to put Tom Foster in after an amazing run but could not get the pass away. The game was now into extra time and Longton were hanging on by a thread. After the fifth penalty referee Jim Bullock had had enough and to the crowd’s delight he awarded a penalty try which was converted by Chris Neal. The referee blew the whistle and the Greens had won in extra time for the second home game in a row.