Sandbach 20 vs Scunthorpe 24
After the long journey to Cheshire the Greens lined up to receive the K.O. facing a blustery diagonal breeze. Both sides had injury problems. Scunthorpe having to replace Nic Dyson, Joey Mowbray and Will Harrison with Jake McKay, Josh Clark and Ethan Taylor (making his 1stXV debut).
The home side scored within two minutes when the Greens conceded a penalty for holding on directly from the K.O.
From the restart the intensity of the commitment of both sides, but especially the young Sandbach team, was outstanding. Ferocious tackling and hard running were the order of the day. Josh Lugsden was a casualty after 10 minutes, having to leave the field with an ankle injury. This setback was answered by the visitors attacking with an irresistible series of sweeping moves that culminated in a forward drive that saw Al Fagan crash over for the first try of the match.
Sandbach roared back and were rewarded, after pushing back the Green’s scrum, and making several determined pick and drives, when prop Monty Weatherby forced has way over the line for an unconverted try.
Sandbach continued to apply pressure with some astute, wind assisted, kicks for position and slick handling that put winger Elliot Morris over in the corner. James Preston added the extra to put Sandbach ahead 15-5. After 35 minutes.
More end to end rugby flowed until a Sandbach corner kick, until now so effective, went straight into touch, giving the visitors a scrum back. From this Josh Clark shot down the blind side, chipped the ball over the defenders to gather and score a try. It was converted by Tom Alldridge.
Sandbach, at half time, still led 15-12, but at a cost. Three of their starting line up had been replaced because of injury.
The Greens started the second half with a bang. The irrepressible energy of James Dyson, now at scum half, and Oli Cole’s powerful impact, tipped the balance of play in the visitor’s favour. Within a couple of minutes an Ethan Taylor break and offload saw Dyson put Jacob Hardy in enough space to outpace the home defence to score.
With another Sandbach injury, a rock solid Green scrum and defence and Tom Foster now using the wind to find the corners the game had swung in Scunthorpe’s favour. But still the home side battled on and held out in defence and, when given the chance, countered with spirit.
Finally, Scunthorpe pressure told. Yet another kick to the corner, a catch and drive and Jacob Hardy broke off and forced his way over the line. With Tom Alldridge converting Scunthorpe were now 24- 15 ahead.
With ten minutes to go James Dyson left the field with a shoulder injury and the game was again in the balance. The home side, cheered on by their supporters, somehow found the energy to launch attack after attack only to be met by an equally determined defence. That is until the final minutes of the game when their efforts finally resulted in an unconverted try in the corner by winger Laurie Essenhigh.
Final score 20-24 to Scunthorpe.
It’s almost inevitable that such a fierce encounter will result in injuries. It did. Both teams will be glad there are no games next week so they can lick their wounds and re-group for the battles ahead.
Moortown 7 vs Scunthorpe Stags 14
Scunthorpe 3rds 33 7 vs Gainsborough 17
Scunthorpe Women 36 vs Harrogate Women 5
Doncaster Colts 7 v Scunthorpe Colts 21
Scunthorpe made the short trip down the M180/M18 to the impressive surroundings of Doncaster Knights, knowing we were playing on the 4G pitch, which poses its own problems, feels like you’re walking on a cloud, but if it’s dry will take the skin of knees, elbows and anything else you drag across it, today was a dry day, a right good drying day as some mums (or dads we don’t discriminate) may say, Kenny Marsh deciding he had pins of doom, raided his mums drawers for the heaviest denier tights he could find and slid into them. The rest made do with vaseline, those jumping went hardcore and faced the sandpaper surface bare.