Scarborough - 1st XV
By Dave Campbell
Scarborough bounced back from their defeat at Hull with a well-deserved win at Bradford Salem snatching victory with an injury-time drop-goal from skipper Tom Ratcliffe.
The Seasiders came out with all guns blazing and looked the sharper of the two sides with loose forwards Isaac Faamau, Ben Martin and Richard Scales dominating at the break down. And they edged 3-0 ahead in the 12th minute when ‘Salem’ centre Sam Savage was penalised at a ruck and Scarborough centre Ant Coffey made no mistake with the kick.
It wasn’t one-sided stuff by any means and when Bradford broke through the centre a cross-field kick meant for winger Nick Fontaine found touch and the chance had gone.
With a re-shuffled tight-five with James Leach back from injury in the second row, the Scarborough pack held their own at the set-pieces, providing go-forward ball for the backs.
And intelligent work between forwards and backs provided the opportunity from which flyhalf Tomasz Chadwick scored the opening try of the game. With the forwards working ‘pods’ off him Chadwick took advantage when the Salem defence was distracted by the proximity of second-rowers Mikey Readman and James Leach to wriggle through the tightest of gaps, dummy fullback Dan Belcher and score between the uprights in the 23rd minute. Coffey added the extras for 10-0.
Stung into action Salem took the game to the visitors but were too often let down by poor handling. And it nearly cost them dear when a loose pass on the Scarborough 22 was intercepted by Coffey in the 32nd minute; the Kiwi centre ran out of steam on his up-field gallop and was tackled by Belcher and the west Yorkshiremen cleared their lines.
Coffey should have made amends with half-time beckoning when Salem centre Savage was caught offside in front of his own posts. Unfortunately the kick was missed but Scarborough went to the break with a ten point advantage.
Perhaps with a flea in their ear from their coaching staff Salem made a positive start to the half and reduced the arrears in the 47th minute with a Belcher penalty when winger Ryan Smith was high-tackled following a five metre scrum.
Salem threw everything at the visitors in the second quarter and only a great team effort kept them at bay.
However, something had to give and not for the first time this season Scarborough were undone by a close-range catch-and-drive when hooker Tom Craven was driven over in the 64th minute. Belcher converted to level the scores at 10-10.
The Seasiders kept their composure and a terrific break from midfield by centre Paul White in the 75th minute almost brought a second try but his offload to scrum-half Jordan Wakeham was knocked on and the chance had gone.
Scarborough lost the services of Wakeham two minutes later with an ankle injury and he was swiftly followed off the field in distress by Salem scrum-half Matt Child who dislocated his shoulder.
Scarborough took control and dominated the late exchanges and Ratcliffe missed a drop-goal attempt by some margin in the 80th minute. However the visitors regained possession and the forwards drove in-field on the Salem 22. From the resulting ruck the ball was passed to Ratcliffe who had dropped back into the pocket and he calmly slotted the sweetest of drop-goals to win the game.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: BEN MARTIN
Scarborough’s back-row of Richard Scales, Ben Martin and Isaac Faamua were outstanding in this game but Ben just shaded it with an accomplished performance in attack, defence and at the lineout.
CAMPBELL’S CORNER: This Scarborough team showed real character in bouncing back from a poor performance on their last outing to succeed at Shay Lane; not the easiest of venues on the road. More of the same please!