L 26 - 17
By Dave Campbell
Second placed Scarborough lost at Silver Royd for the first this season following a full blooded and enthralling Yorkshire One clash with third placed Heath RUFC which had supporters of both clubs on the edge of their seats to the very end.
With Heath unbeaten on the road and the Seasiders having a 100% home record, something had to give. And the home side started with a distinct disadvantage losing fly-half Phil Stewart, injured in the warm-up and Harry Domett a late withdrawal with flu. Centre Tom Ratcliffe moved to ten for Stewart and Paul White played in the centre. Jack Anderson came in on the wing for Domett.
Heath got off to a flying start and went over for the first try of the game with less than a minute on the clock. The west Yorkshiremen won a lineout on halfway and moved the ball infield off the top for Kiwi outside centre Jordan Bradbrook to step on the gas to leave the Scarborough wide defence for dead. Inside-centre Ezra Hinchliffe added the extras for 7-0.
Shocked by this early reverse the Seasiders battled back into the game but struggled at the set scrums against a big, powerful Heath pack. No quarter was given or asked in some tasty midfield exchanges but when Bradbrook was sin-binned for an intentional knock-on on his own 22, Scarborough drove to the line and moved the ball infield for Ratcliffe to power over in the 17th minute and convert his own effort to tie the scores at 7-7.
Heath turned the screw in perhaps their best spell of the game with back-rowers Rich Brown and Jason Merrie linking well with their mid-field. Good work by flyhalf Jack Crabtree sent Merrie in for the visitor’s second try in the 21st minute and Hinchliffe converted for a 14-7 lead.
Heath stepped up a gear when Bradbrook returned to the field from the sin-bin in the 25th minute; however Scarborough’s mid-field of Ratcliffe, White and Billy Parker who were hastily cobbled together before the kick-off responded well defensively with their young back row teammates Ben Martin, Drew Govier and Aaron Wilson augmenting the efforts of a feisty front five. At scrum-half the always-dependable Jordi Wakeham did very well to adjust to an often retreating scrum and an unfamiliar mid-field outside him.
For a period of the second quarter the Scarborough pack achieved parity in the scrums but couldn’t find a way through a well-drilled Heath defence. On the other hand the Seasiders’ wide defence continued to look vulnerable and slick work by fullback Sam Pollard and centre Bradbrook sent winger Callum Harriet-Brown over in the corner in the 39th minute. Hinchliffe’s kick stretched the lead to 19-7.
That should have taken the visitors comfortably to half-time, however they conceded a penalty in their own half and Ratcliffe found touch five metres out. From the catch and drive Scarborough pressed the Heath line before the ball was moved infield for Parker to crash over and Ratcliffe converted with the last kick off the half to cut the deficit to five points at the break.
Trailing 14-19 the Seasiders made a positive start to the second half kicking a penalty in the 44th minute to cut the lead to a couple of points.
In an attritional third quarter Heath’s defence held firm in the face of a Scarborough onslaught with a ding-dong battle in midfield which saw the home side fail to get their runners into play and their ball carriers just couldn’t break through a smothering blanket defence. Stand-in left wing Jack Anderson probably had the best chance to clinch the game when he was released wide on the left in the 69th minute but was a bit too upright and was squeezed into touch at the corner flag.
Shortly after that chance went begging, the Seasiders were penalised for a late tackle in the Heath 22 and quick thinking by Hinchliffe saw his kick relieve the pressure and take play to the other end of the paddock where Crabtree released Bradbrook for the clinching score in the 76th minute. Hinchliffe added the extra two for 26-17.
However, as they had done for the whole game Matty Jones’s men showed terrific spirit and drove straight up field and urged on by the Silver Royd crowd went searching for another score. However their efforts were repulsed and Heath who were the best side on the day hung on for the bonus point win to leapfrog Scarborough into second place. The game was a great advertisement for Yorkshire One rugby and credit must go to both sides for the spirit in which it was played.
Tries: ratcliffe, parker
Conversions: ratcliffe 2
Tries: bradbrook 2, merrie, harriet-brown
Conversions: hinchliffe 3
Scarborough: perrett holloway white parker anderson ratcliffe wakeham whitton dawson taylor jones(c) oxtoby wilson d.govier martin Substitutes: cutino readman e.govier
Heath: pollard cartwright bradbrook hinchliffe harriet-brown crabtree birkett cooke mcfadden moore beasty boussadda downsborough(c) merrie brown Substitutes: dance s.brown marsden
Scarborough News "Man of the Match": back row - wilson, d.govier, martin
On a day when the power and experience in the visiting pack was a major factor, the tireless performance of Scarborough’s young and talented back row of Aaron Wilson, Drew Govier and Ben Martin kept their side in a game the outcome of which was in doubt to the very end.