Scunthorpe travelled to South Leicester on a murky November afternoon to take on the, as yet, unbeaten South Leicester team. The ‘Greens’ made an enterprising start with both centres Ash Dibden and Oli Wood making telling runs against the home defence. Further pressure from the Scunthorpe attacking force was turned over by the home back row and Scunthorpe were fortunate that the referee had seen an offence with the winger in open space and try line begging. South Leicester came more in to the game and attacked the Scunthorpe line with determination. The defence held, a vital scrummage was won and Steve Johnson cleared the lines. Play was evenly contested in the middle of the field and Oli Wood lifted the Scunthorpe team with a tremendous tackle on one of the big South Leicester forwards who dropped the ball. The intense battle continued and Scunthorpe was beginning to gain the upper hand in the exchanges. Oli Wood managed a turnover to regain possession and then Matt Probert won a penalty at a scrum. A kick to the corner saw the home team having to make several hard tackles to keep the eager Scunthorpe forwards at bay. Further pressure and enterprising attacking play followed, but Scunthorpe could just not break through the home defence. A scrum was awarded to Scunthorpe and then a penalty which was taken quickly. Tom Foster outpaced the home defence to score the games’ first points after 27 minutes. Steve Johnson added the conversion to give Scunthorpe a deserved 7 point advantage. James Dyson was replaced by new comer Chris Donk who has come from the Ionians club. Scunthorpe continued to press their attacks with a variety of kicks and forward power and attacking back play. The pressure led to a penalty award which Steve Johnson converted to give Scunthorpe a 10-0 lead. At half time James Dyson returned to field and relieved Dave Garbutt.
South Leicester made a strong start to the second half and the defensive alignment of the Scunthorpe team was seriously questioned. To all intent it remained secure and Woody Vaimoso relieved the pressure with a mazy run into the opposition half that led to the home team handling in a ruck. The resulting penalty saw Steve Johnson increase the lead to 13 – 0. South Leicester continued to pressure the Scunthorpe defence and eventually it was breached by the South Leicester number 8 Chris Bale, his try was converted by Rob Aley to make the score 13 – 7. Si Weller suffered a ‘dead leg’ and was replaced by Dave Garbutt. The game continued to ebb and flow between the two 22 metre areas with both teams vying for superiority. South Leicester succumbed first, committing an offence at the lineout which Steve Johnson steadfastly converted to extend the visitors lead to 16 points to 7. Further attacks from South Leicester were rebuffed before a break out from Tom Foster, Vaimoso and winger Chapman eventually broke down with a scrum being awarded by the referee. As it broke up, the ball fell in the path of prop Jack Leaning who showed clean pair of heels to score a fine try under the posts for Steve Johnson to convert to give Scunthorpe a 23 – 7 point advantage. A piece of verbal indiscipline led to the dismissal of a South Leicester centre but this only encouraged the home team to higher levels of input. After a series of raids in the Scunthorpe 22 a maul was deemed to have been collapsed close to line which the referee rewarded South Leicester with a penalty try converted by Aley. The last 10 minutes became increasingly more tense when flanker Maltman went over for a try converted by Aley to bring the score to 23 -21. Both teams continued to give their all, in what was now the search for a winning score. Scunthorpe survived an onslaught of aggressive attacking play and made strenuous efforts to make the final score theirs. It was from this last attempt that the final play of the game broke down just inside the South Leicester 22 when the ball was dropped and the chance of a score had gone in what had been a tremendously powerful game; in which both teams had contributed to the ultimate climax and for Scunthorpe to inflict the first defeat of the season on the league leaders.
Match Report by MJYates