CLECKHEATON 13 SCUNTHORPE 25
Scunthorpe started their second season in the recently formed Regional 1 Northeast League with a convincing victory away at Cleckheaton. The Greens have made some positive additions to the squad with the arrival of new players Jordan Beresford from Gainsborough, Rory Williams from Burnage. Also making a welcome return was the influential utility back Will Robinson, back after a three-year battle with injury. After a spell in Rugby League ex Scunthorpe Youth Player Alfie Oldridge also made an impressive start for his home club.
The Greens were on the scoreboard within two minutes with a well taken penalty from Connor Brewster. Tim Robinson’s men showed their intent from the start by playing a very expansive game even though they were not all in tune and unable to make the final pass count. Their commitment was evident for all to see and the backs had pace to burn. Cleckheaton came back with a penalty of their own, kicked to the corner but could not make use of the catch and drive line out as Scunthorpe stole the ball from the throw. Connor Brewster added another three points. Scunthorpe were now rampant and should have scored two tries within five minutes of each other. Will Robinson made a searing break and should have put Alfie Oldridge in for his debut try, then shortly after Robinson was within a few metres of the line himself when the defender appeared to make an illegal tackle pushing him into touch, which should have resulted in a penalty try. Cleckheaton rallied and came back at Scunthorpe with some astute kicking. They got onto the scoreboard with a penalty from Tom Breakwell. The Greens could not secure their line out ball and from an excellent 50-22 kick from the home side scrum half Tom Breakwell once again put his side within the red zone. Cleckheaton took a cheeky throw to the front of the line out and the tight head prop rumbled over, looking certain to score. However, a try saving tackle from Joey Mowbray saved the day. Half time came and at 3-6 the game looked evenly balanced with the West Yorkshire outfit having the best of the last 15 minutes of the half.
The second half started in a similar vein to that of the first in that Scunthorpe’s errors allowed Cleckheaton more of the ball than they really should have had. Then from a silly penalty Cleckheaton moved the ball to their big centre Richard Noble who ran through both his opposite centres to score under the posts, Breakwell converted and Cleckheaton were 10-6 ahead. Then came a crucial moment in the game when the referee issued a yellow card to Cleckheaton for a deliberate knock on. From the ensuing penalty Will Robinson took over kicking duties as Connor Brewster had sustained an injury. The line out clicked this time and Matty Mason claimed the try as the pack drove over the line, Robinson converted, and The Greens were now back in front at 10–13. Another opportunity arose to score when from yet another Cleckheaton penalty Robinson put the ball into the corner, unfortunately the line out went awry, and the chance went begging. Scunthorpe were now edging their way back into the game, but the odd error allowed the defence off the hook. After 65 minutes Scunthorpe scored the try of the game – which proved to be the clincher. The forwards stole the ball from the Cleckheaton line out in their own 22, Rory Williams rumbled on and then the ball came wide to Will Robinson who sprinted 40 metres, with players in support. The centre timed his pass to perfection to release Josh Lugsden who finished off the move racing away to score under the posts, Robinson converted 13-20 – almost job done. This try showed Scunthorpe’s attacking potential and what damage they could do with this style of play if they took the right options. Another series of penalties five minutes from time saw debutant Rory Williams claim his first try from the old faithful Bridlington. The final whistle blew and Scunthorpe were deserved winners at 13-25. Although not by any means a perfect performance there was lots of potential on show, however against more clinical teams in this league the coaches will be working on cutting out the errors and being much more clinical in attack. Lots to look forward to in the coming months!