Scunthorpe made their first ever trip to league newcomers and fancied team Peterborough Lions. Having had an indifferent start to the league season the Lions were now beginning to fire and fire they certainly did in the opening exchanges.
The neutral observer on a day fit for barbarian style play saw a marvellous game of open rugby played by both sides, but more so by the Lions in the first half who ran in five tries to Scunthorpe’s two penalties.
The Lions were on the board almost from the kick off when they secured their own kick off ball, moved the ball wide and scored wide out. The conversion missed the Lions led 5-0. From the restart Scunthorpe gained some ground into the Lions half but an infringement at the ruck led to a penalty, which the Lions centre, Carrington, duly dispatched 50m up field and into touch some 15m from the Scunthorpe line. A classic catch and drive from the Lions saw the Scunthorpe pack unable to stop the rampage, and a converted try was scored, 12-0.
Scunthorpe got on the scoreboard with a well struck penalty from Steve Johnson and the Greens then had a good patch of play taking the ball down into the Lions half but never really worrying their defence. The Lions however looked dangerous again when the ball was moved wide, and the usually sound defence was breached again for the Lions to score a further try which was converted, 19-3. A further penalty from Johnson took the score to 19-6 but the Greens looked rather shell shocked, and for all intent and purpose were still on the bus, having not really got into the game. A yellow card against Jake Barron reduced the Greens to 14 and once again the Lions attacking flair breached the normally sound defence at will. Credit though must go to the Lions for their movement of the ball, running lines and support play which saw them score two more tries before half time, and probably should have been a third but for a tremendous cover tackle by Johnson on the Lions winger.
So 31-6 at half time and a mountain to climb for the visitors.
The travelling Scunthorpe support were hoping for a different team to start the second half but the Lions started as they had finished and scored two early unconverted tries, to put the result beyond reach for the Greens, or was it?
Back up to 15 men, the Greens began to play their own barbarian style, with terrific runs from Viamoso, Johnson and Foster, the Greens were now on the attack and into the Lions red zone. From a short range penalty James Dyson was driven over by the Scunthorpe pack for a try which was converted by Steve Johnson, 41-13. The Greens were now playing with some conviction and were getting some continuity, gaining ground into the Lions territory. However from a Scunthorpe line out stolen by the Lions the ball was moved wide, and once again gaps just seem to open up and the Lions scored under the posts, easily converted to take the score to 48-13. End of story, no not really, end to end stuff followed but Scunthorpe were gaining the upper hand. Moving the ball wide themselves Steve Johnson finished off a great move to score in the corner. The conversion was missed and the score stood at 48-18. The Lions were penalised from their kick off and the Greens once again set off from a quick tap penalty to surge into the Lions half. The Lions now had to defend their territory and this they duly did, the move ending with a knock on by the Greens.
A long kick from the base of a scrum by the Lions scrum half saw Viamoso collect the ball and start off on a snaking run, which was cut short by a high tackle and a resultant yellow card for the offender. Another quick take at the penalty saw the Greens charging down field and Dave Garbutt finished off the move with a try, plus conversion by Johnson 41- 25. The Lions were now clearly rattled and their previously replaced captain and number 7, Chris Humphrey, returned to the fray to settle things down in the den.
The Greens though weren’t finished, with scars still smarting from the earlier mauling, they attacked again through Chapman, who almost made it to the line being brought down just short by a brilliant cover tackle by full back Barnard. A knock on then gave the Greens another chance from 5m out. From the scrum the ball was moved to Tom Foster who was immediately swallowed by the Lions defence, who then secured a home scrum. A long kick to touch from the ever reliant Jaco Steenberg at scrum half from the base of the scrum relieved the pressure.
The Greens had the last say of the game with some excellent pick and drives from the forwards, the ball was them moved wide through several pairs of hands for Johnson to score in the corner, and gain a valuable losing bonus point. Johnson converted to leave the final score at 48-32.
An entertaining game for the neutral, but for both sides a lot to go away with to prepare for next week. Scunthorpe at home to Sandbach, and Peterborough away at unbeaten South Leicester.