By Dave Campbell & Jake Mensah
Scarborough brought the curtain down on home season 2015-16 with a 26-10 bonus-point win over Bradford Salem at a cold and windy Silver Royd.
The Seasiders played with a stiff northerly wind behind them and dominated the early phases; however they almost conceded a try in the 5th minute when powerful fullback Danny Belcher cut a swath through half the home side from a tap-penalty on half-way and was only stopped by some last-ditch cover defence.
With Paul Taylor at tight-head, Scarborough dominated the set scrums providing good ball for the backs; however due to the stiff northerly wind the lineout for both sides was a lottery; however skipper Tom Ratcliffe got the scoreboard moving with a penalty for 3-0 in the 12th minute.
Having had a good shout for a try turned down when flanker Ben Martin touched down in-goal following a charged-down Salem clearance, Scarborough was awarded a five metre scrum in the 25th minute; No8 Isaac Faamau got the touch on the pushover for an 8-0 lead. Ratcliffe failed to convert.
Scarborough camped on the Bradford line and went for a series of pushover tries but with the substitution of Taylor they lost their cohesion.
And they were punished for their profligacy in the 38th minute when a break from the home 10 meter line by Salem centre Sam Savage released the lively Belcher who brushed aside a mixture of flimsy and half-hearted tackles to power over and reduce the arrears. Belcher failed to convert his own effort into the wind and the visitors trailed 5-8 at the break.
Playing with the wind, much was expected of the visitors in the second half but a Scarborough purple patch following the interval all but ended the game as a contest.
Fullback Ant Coffey got the ball rolling in the 42nd minute when he cheekily chipped over a static Salem defence on half-way. The young Kiwi collected before transferring the ball across the Bradford 22 where burly prop Wesley Langkilde galloped over from 20 metres for 13-5. Ratcliffe failed to convert.
And Coffey was involved three minutes later when a scything run by Ratcliffe set up a try for the Seasiders’ fullback. Once again the wind made conversion impossible but Scarborough led 18-5. Visiting flanker Jamie Booth was yellow-carded for a high-tackle in the build up to the try.
And the spate of Scarborough tries was concluded two minutes later in the 47th minute when fly-half Tomasz Chadwick stepped on the gas just inside the Salem half; he outpaced the cover and sidesteped fullback Belcher to cross for a 23-5 lead.
The remainder of proceedings was pretty much disappointing but windy, wet and cold conditions made rugby very difficult indeed. A Ratcliffe penalty stretched the lead to 26-5 in the 56th minute.
A box-kick by scrum-half Ian Woodwiss down Bradford’s right flank took the ball over the Scarborough try-line in the 70th minute. Substitute winger Toby Welsby appeared to have it covered but fumbled the ball in-goal and opposite number Nick Fontaine got the touch for a consolation try. Belcher missed the conversion.
On a day when rugby was not easy, a bonus point win was just reward for a hard afternoon’s work by the whole team. Up front Paul Taylor made a big difference at scrum-time with the back row putting in a good shift. The line-outs were a nightmare in the windy conditions. Ant Coffey and Paul White were the pick of the lively but underused backs.
REFEREE: MR GLEN COCKROFT
SCARBOROUGH NEWS MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: DREW GOVIER
Drew only came on for the second half of the game but he took it by the scruff of the neck and added some much needed urgency at the break down and as always his defensive work in the Silver Royd breakaway unit was outstanding.
I started to get ‘Bridgnorth Nightmares’ when Scarborough repeatedly tried to drive Salem over their own line without success at a series of scrums with their outstanding scrummager back on the bench. Proactive thinking is needed in these situations.