South Leicester 48 Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club 22
Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club travelled to promotion contenders South Leicester without Will Robinson at scrumhalf, Steve Parker in the centre and both Richard Thomlinson and Guy Mychaijluk from the front row.
Adam Middleton, back from suspension took the number 9 shirt and veteran Mick Dunk covered the front row. Other changes saw Tom Barker on the right wing and Oli Wood moving to the centre.
The home side came out strongly and kept The Greens under pressure with only determined defence preventing a score. After 10 minutes, the home team moved the ball to the right and Tom Foster latched on to a miss-placed pass and sprinted from his own ‘22’ and outpace the cover for a try half-way out to the right. Steve Johnson managed to convert and Scunthorpe were in the lead at 7 points to nil.
It took South another ten minutes before they drove over from a scrummage with Number 8 Josh Mclaurin getting the touchdown. Joe Glover missed the conversion and Scunthorpe remained ahead at 7 points to 5. Another 7 minutes passed with South doing most of the pressing as Scunthorpe conceded penalties at the breakdown and the set piece. It was no surprise when the home pack drove over from short range. Glover this time added the extras for a 12 points to 7 advantage. Scunthorpe did create an opportunity but the lose ball in the home ‘22’ was not controlled by Oli Wood with Viamoso clear outside him.
The momentum was now very much with the home team and they managed to score two more tries before the interval as they maintained possession with great support work. Glover converted one try to take his side into half-time with a 24 points to 7 lead.
It was important for Scunthorpe to make a good start and increase their intensity in defence and at the breakdown.
They were encouraged by the yellow carding of home number 8 Mclaurin after only 3 minutes but then poor passing handed the ball to South from which they sent right winger Conner Smith over for his second try. Glover again added the extras for a 31 points to 7 lead.
This score galvanised The Greens and following a strong run by Rewiti Viamoso, Adam Middleton went over on the blind side of the ruck. Johnson failed with the conversion attempt but Scunthorpe had now snatched back the initiative and only two minutes later an astute cross-field kick from Tom Foster was gathered by Tom Barker who fed the ball infield to the supporting Steve Johnson for an excellent try. Once again the conversion was missed but Scunthorpe had the all important bonus point in sight which comes with 4 tries.
There now followed a bizarre incident when having been awarded a penalty the home team, through hooker and captain Luke Coltman, loudly opted for a scrum. A short delayed ensued while an injured player was receiving treatment but when play resumed with Scunthorpe expecting a scrum, home scrum-half Glover tapped the ball and scurried over for a try, which was awarded by the referee.
Whilst Scunthorpe were still recovering from the previous score, South drove from a lineout and Coltman touched down. Glover added the extras and the home side now held a 43 points to 17 advantage.
Scunthorpe camped to the other end of the pitch and following 10 minutes or more of pressure they eventually got the all important fourth try and a bonus point. The hard working Viamoso forcing his way over wide to the left as Johnson again narrowly failed with the kick. With virtually the last move of the match, Scunthorpe once more coughed up the ball through poor passing and enable South to score a late try that enabled Smith to complete his hat-trick and make the margin of victory/defeat (48 points to 22) rather greater than was fair from the balance of play.
Next Saturday The Greens host Sandbach at Heslam Park for the first time and with the visitors smarting from a home defeat to Longton they must take full advantage.