SANDAL 59 SCUNTHORPE 19
The final league fixture of the season certainly had an ‘end of term’ feel about it and was not short of incident. There were several changes to the line up as some senior players were taking a well-earned break to try heal their wounds ready for the cup campaign. The Greens welcomed back Josh Sarsfield and Connor Brewster from college duties and young Cameron Christer made his full debut. This was a very young and inexperienced team that faced a team that were in good form having won their last three games.
Sandal were quickly on the scoreboard when a penalty was given for the Scunthorpe player not rolling away. From the line out Sandal rumbled over and claimed the 5 pointer, Jake Adams converting. Three minutes later they doubled their lead after sustained pressure in the Green 22. Then a bizarre incident occurred in which the referee went down with a serious knee injury. He received some attention from the physios and was back in the game three minutes later. However the poor chap only lasted five minutes and went down again as if shot by sniper. Unfortunately, the referee was not able to carry on and it took a good 15 minutes to find a replacement. It was in fact the referee’s assessor who took over and dispute his senior years did a great job. This break benefitted Scunthorpe more as it took the momentum away from Sandal and the Greens put together some good moves. After a great move along the backs Lewis Talbot was held up short of the line as he was nudged into touch. However the respite didn’t last long as Sandal hoofed the ball down field, Scunthorpe knocked on and Sandal played the phases running in their third converted try. Scunthorpe were given a penalty and the one area that they dominated was the scrum so they opted for one instead of kicking. Jack Brunt picked up and drove over, stretching to get the ball down. 21-5. Just as things had settled down the substitute ref’s watch conked out and he had to struggle on using the scoreboard timer. Sandal scored another unconverted try to lead at half time by 26-5.
Scunthorpe emerged from the break and played some good rugby holding their own in all areas – particularly the scrum. Lewis Talbot was once again just short of scoring after more driving play from Jack Brunt, the ball landed in Lewis’ hands and he raced 50 metres but could not get over the line as the defender came across with a try saving tackle into touch. A period of poor decision making saw the Greens give away too many penalties but they defended their lines well and kept the rampant home side out. It took the Yorkshire outfit 20 minutes to record their first try of the half. Scunthorpe responded with the in form Jack Brunt picking up from the ruck and racing 25 metres to score. With 15 minutes to play Tim Robinson would have been happy with the 33-12 scoreline. But disappointingly the young side blew up and Sandal ran in four more tries with Scunthorpe managing to claim a penalty try. It was inevitable that after the previous week’s heroics against Paviors the Greens could not put out a team to compete with the ‘in form’ Sandal. The club now enters a re-building process as they compete in the Papa John’s Cup and then look to rebuild for what will be a very challenging second season in Regional NE 1. With the young talent on show there is definitely the potential if the coaches and players can blend this youth with the more experienced guys.