For their first league game of the New Year, The Greens entertain their visitors from Cheshire who sit two places and two points above them in the league but have a 5 point deduction awaiting reflection in the table by the league administrators.
Changes from the last league game at Longton include the return of James Dyson in the back row alongside Dave Garbutt with Sam Morgan taking the place of the unavailable Oli Wood in the centre.
The home boys made a very positive start by putting the visitors under immediate pressure in the scrummage and winning a penalty after only 4 minutes which was converted by Jake Goodison. With Jack Leaning in particularly good form, Lymm found it difficult to control their scrum ball and the pressure increased with another penalty conceded after 11 minutes which Goodison again converted for a 6 points to nil advantage.
Scunthorpe were very much the dominant force and had much the better of territory and possession and should have been further ahead had they controlled possession of the ball more clinically. Following another penalty award in the 38th minute Tom Foster opted to kick for touch into the Lymm ‘22’ and from the ensuing lineout, The Greens pack drove the ball over the line for the touchdown by Dave Garbutt. Goodison failed to convert but the Scunthorpe boys went into the interval with an eleven points to nil advantage.
The interval seemed to work wonders for the Cheshire boys as they managed to capitalise on a home penalty error from the restart which gave them a position in the Scunthorpe half and from the ensuing lineout they retained possession until they broke through the home defence for a try by Matt Barnes-Smith. Cormick Nolan struck the conversion between the uprights and Lymm were back in the game at 11points to 7. From the restart another penalty gave Lymm a position from which Nolan again struck to put his side only one point behind at 11points to 10. After 10 minutes of the second period the indiscipline from the home side once more attracted the referee’s attention and not only did he give a penalty against Scunthorpe but also yellow carded Guy Mychajluk. Nolan had his third successful kick and his team were now in front at 13 points to 11 and as the home team were imploding, the visitors were steadily gaining in confidence.
The Greens had definitely lost favour with the referee as penalties were awarded against them at regular intervals and after 18 minutes Nolan was able to move his team into a 16 points to 11 lead. The longer the game proceeded and the harder Scunthorpe tried to get their game into some form on continuity, the more mistakes were made and seemingly the more the penalty count increased. So after 25 minutes Nolan was again on target to now make the scoreline 19 points to 11.
Scunthorpe broke the sequence of penalties against after 27 minutes and were awarded one themselves. The decision was taken to go for goal instead of kicking to the corners and repeating the move of the first half which resulted in a try. Goodison missed the kick and Lymm managed to relieve pressure from the subsequent drop-out. Lymm were then awarded another penalty after 32 minutes, which was arguably the easiest kick of the match but Nolan managed to pull his effort wide.
As the game was coming to a disappointing end for the Heslam Park faithful, there was one more ironic twist when The Greens were awarded a penalty kick half-way out and to the left of the post, they were told that there was no time to go for a kick into Lymm territory and hope for a line out drive, so they had to go for a hopeful kick at goal which, if successful would at least have given them a point from the match. In the event the kick missed the target and the final whistle signalled the end a very poor day for Scunthorpe.
The turn round in the fortunes of the two teams after the interval was quite startling and the worry for The Greens is that they did not seem to be able to make the sort of decisions on the park that would give them the initiative back again. The constant drip of penalties against in the second period was also alarming as it showed that there was either a lack of understanding of what the referee was looking for or a great deal of careless indiscipline.
They travel to Newport (Salop) next week to play another of the teams that are at in the mix at the lower end of the table and where they must look to take the points in order to survive.
Match report courtesy of Mr L. Clayton