The Greens made a couple of changes to the starting line-up from that which started at Nuneaton last Saturday with Steve Johnson coming back in at Fullback and Colin Chapman moving back to the right wing. Will Harrison suffered injury last week and so Tom Hughes gets the starting birth at scrum-half. In the pack James Nuttall covers the front row in the absence of Paul Sewell.
Even though disappointed with the result at Nuneaton, confidence in the camp is generally high and positive. This was reflected in the way the game unfolded in the early stages with Scunthorpe making the more threatening plays. They were rewarded with a penalty after only 2 minutes but Steve Johnson miss judged the brisk wind which took the ball just outside the right hand upright.
The home boys were still full of positive intent and were moving the ball through the hands at every opportunity and following several phases, the ball was moved back infield where Simon Weller was on hand to take the final pass and power in from 15 metres. Johnson added the conversion and The Greens were in front at 7 points to nil after 10 minutes.
Old Hales were gradually racking up the pressure as more possession came their way with powerful driving runs by their back row and fullback Cooper got his team on the board after 15 minutes. The visitors now had the momentum and the ball was taken into the home’22’ on the right and when it emerged going left, Smith came off the right wing between his centres to take the scoring pass and his pace did the rest. Cooper missed the conversion but his team was now ahead by 8 points to 7 after 25 minutes. The Birmingham boys continued to pressure the home defence and had two good opportunities to demonstrate their trade mark ‘catch and drive’ but were repulsed by aggressive defence which drove them back.
The home team stole the ball deep within their own ‘22’ and once again Rewiti Viamoso started an attack which was carried on by various players until Callum Davies finished a great score at the other end of the pitch much to the delight of the home crowd. Johnson failed with the conversion but Scunthorpe had once again taken the lead at 12 points to 8 after 27 minutes. This situation did not prevail for very long as back came Hales with a well taken try by Burrows who drove over under the post making for an easy conversion from Cooper and a lead of 15 points to 12 after 32 minutes. Johnson struck a penalty for Scunthorpe after 34 minutes which levelled the scores.
Old Hales finished the first period the stronger and was rewarded with a try by Cooper which he converted himself and take his side inter the interval with a lead of 22 points to 15.
Scunthorpe started the second half with the stiff wind at their backs and was looking to use this to their advantage. Things did not quite work out, as Tom Foster’s first kick out of defence was charged down and scrambling defence lead to a penalty for Hales which Cooper converted to extend his sides lead to 25 points to 15 after only 2 minutes of the second period.
The Greens cam back with a delightful score when Viamoso made a break on half-way and fed inside to Foster who run in under the posts. Johnson added the extras and the home boys where back in the game, only 3 points adrift at 22 to 25.
Scunthorpe were now in the ascendant and maintained a territorial advantage and after 24 minutes Nick Syddall powered over for Johnson to add the conversion and put the home team in front by 29 points to 25. Both teams conceded penalties in a hectic closing chapter with lots of drama. First home replacement Rudi Van der Merwe was adjudged to have made a high tackle and was sent to the bin after 30 which left the home team a man down but they held out the Hales pack who had struggled for scrummage control all afternoon. They also attempted the drive from the lineout with little success and with 3 minutes of normal time left Johnson went for a long range penalty to put Scunthorpe further ahead but his effort drifted to the left of the posts leaving Hales with one last push to overtake.
They worked the ball up to the Scunthorpe ‘22’ where Dave Garbutt made a powerful tackle but because his opponent’s feet were lifted off the floor it was adjudged to be dangerous. Before the referee could finalise his decision an Old Hales player took the law into his own hands so that a player from each side was then binned and the penalty reversed. Tom Foster put the ball into touch and the final whistle blew.
A great win over a competent team which puts the Heslam Park boys at the dizzy height of second in the table. Tim Robinson will have to make sure there is no collective nose’ bleeds when they travel for a first time fixture to Peterborough Lions.
One negative note was the arm injury to Callum Davies which turned out to be a break and will keep him out for some time.
Match Report by LWJClayton
Quote from O.Hales match report:
“Unusually.......Your intrepid reporter can find few words to describe his (and the Fans) disappointment at the way in which once again.... against what is supposed to be lesser opposition (no disrespect intended), we manage to throw away chance after chance to put games to bed.”