Photo: Seddon has not concentrated so hard since his Home Economics exam in 2003
Concentration, Discipline and Precision were the keywords used by coach Simon Verbickas in the pre-match players briefing before this game. In our previous two games we have given away early leads by failing to maintain focus in these three areas. That wasn’t about to happen in this match.Sandbach started the game with their usual high tempo forwards assault and, as is now becoming the norm, were awarded an early penalty within range, which was easily converted by replacement kicker Gaz Caen.
Maintaining the pressure, Sandbach forwards pressurised the scrum and Simon Verbickas popped the ball inside for Jack Leech who coming in from his wing at speed ran through and scored under the posts. Caen slotted the conversion to give the home team a 10 point lead inside 8 minutes.
Scunthorpe although stunned by this early onslaught, soon got their game together and began to build pressure of their own. They were slightly fortunate as a chip kick was deflected off a Sandbach defender straight into the arms of their centre who ran through to score. That mistake stung Sandbach and on the next attack, Matt Pollen broke through a tackle and then used the 2v1 advantage to pass to Richard Murray who ran through and scored under the posts. Caen took the extra 2 points.
In the final minutes of the first half, Murray got just rewards for an excellent individual performance as he managed to avoid three defenders and work his way along the touch line to score his second try in the corner. Half Time: Sandbach 22:5 Scunthorpe
“More of the same please” was the half time message from captain Mark Bird and he was delighted as the team attacked from the outset, recycling the ball 5 times before it was spun wide to Matt Beesley, who’s subtle pass to Verbickas allowed the club coach to demonstrate both his conventional and Maori sidesteps before scoring a great try.
The home team now started to introduce fresh legs and within 5 minutes of entering the fray, Dan Massey managed (somehow?) to squeeze down the side-line, avoiding no less than 5 defenders before scoring a great try in the corner.With their tails up, Sandbach turned on the heat and narrowly missed another score as eventual “R. K. Henshall: Man of the Match” Tom Herd was “held up” over the line. The pressure continued and with 15 minutes remaining Bird took a quick penalty and as if standing on hot coals hopped and skipped through a melee of forwards, only to be brought down a metre from the line. Bird managed to flip-up the ball as he went down and 1st Team debutant Tom Austin, announced his arrival in the team by crashing over to score the try. Caen picked up another two points.
The Sandbach final try came as a result of some incredible inter-passing between wingers Massey and Murray leading to another slick pass for Matt Pollen to score out wide.
Despite the score and a plan to shut-out the opposition in the last 20 minutes, Scunthorpe showed their class and versatility, first with a classic forwards “Pick and Go” try, soon followed by some slick passing across the pitch to score a good “backline” try in the corner.
Overall this was a much improved performance, despite the absence of a number of key players. Several players upped their game as the pressure for places with undoubtedly increase as the injuries heal. The penalty count is improving, but we still need to work on reducing the number of technical offences around the tackle area.
Next week Sandbach are at home to South Leicester, who are just above us in the table and only separated by bonus points. Kick off: 3.00pm @ Bradwall Road
Read the Scunthorpe report here: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/scunthorpe/s/match-report-6825.html?fixture_id=509001&official=1