By Dave Campbell
A sixty minute period of total rugby blew away the challenge of visitors Keighley in the opening game of the season at Silver Royd and although the west Yorkshiremen came back strongly with a couple of late tries they always played second fiddle to a slick Scarborough outfit.
Keighley kicked off but sustained pressure from the Seasiders pinned them in their own half and it took until the 15th minute for them to open their account. The ball was moved right to left to change the point of attack and No8 Ben Martin released winger Jonty Holloway who stood-up then shimmied past his opposite number Jason Kay to scamper over. Fly-half Tom Harrison was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt.
The inter-passing between forwards and backs looked as if it would come to fruition pretty quickly following the opening score; however when it came the second try was a phase one effort, Martin picking up from the base and powering over in the 24th minute. Harrison added the extras for a 12-0 lead.
The visiting Keighley players must have wondered what had hit them as the Silver Royders broke the gain line with ease and launched attack after attack at pace against a harassed looking defence. It was therefore no surprise when they stretched the lead to 17-0 two minutes later; Harrison, centre Tom Ratcliffe and fullback Jim Perrett combining to send Holloway in for his second touchdown.
That score went unconverted and with a series of niggling injuries and cramp Scarborough appeared to go ‘of the boil’ with no further score before the break.
A turnover following Scarborough’s second half kick-off, saw Keighley drive deep into home territory but when centre Liam Everett spilled the ball just inside the Scarborough 22, Harrison grabbed possession and put a mighty clearance way up-field. Perrett outpaced both teammates and opponents to win the foot race, gather and cross to score an extraordinary try. Harrison converted for 24-0 in the 41st minute.
And still the tries kept coming; Scarborough won a lineout on halfway on their right touchline and moved it infield. Slick handling in midfield saw Perrett hit the line at pace to release Holloway who turned on the afterburners and scorched over in the 48th minute. Tom Harrison made it 31-0 with his conversion.
Keighley at last got in the mix and following inter-passing between forwards and backs, wing Jason Kay crossed in the corner. Flyhalf Alex Brown added the extras to reduce the arrears at 31-7 in the 52nd minute.
The Seasiders had players going down like flies in the final quarter with a series of knocks and cramp taking its toll as they lost their shape and rhythm. However, they did maintain concentration and when skipper Matty Jones spotted a gap in the visitors 22, he released the irrepressible Perrett selling an outrageous dummy for the fullback to glide over for his second touchdown of the afternoon in the 67th minute. Harrison pulled his kick across the posts but Scarborough enjoyed a 36-7 advantage.
Scarborough appeared to tire near the end and Keighley cut the lead with a try from hooker Shaun Minikin converted by Brown for 36-14 in the 75 minute. And the game ended on a farcical note which saw a Scarborough second row hoist a kick to the furthest touchline from him, presumably because he thought the game was over only to find a Keighley player who ran it into the home 22.
There followed some loose play which resembled a game of table-football before Keighley second row James Fox dived over to score in the 79th minute. Brown converted for a 36-21 score-line which undoubtedly flattered the visitors.
CAMPBELL’S COMMENT: The first hour of this game was perhaps the best period of ‘total Rugby’ I’ve seen from a Scarborough side for many years. Forwards and outright pace win rugby matches and with a cohesive pack and pace to spare, particularly Jim Perrett and Jonty Holloway, Simon Smith’s class of 2017/18 were very impressive.
Tries: holloway 3, martin, perrett 2
Conversions: harrison 3
Tries: kay, minkin, fox
Conversions: brown 3
Scarborough: perrett young parker ratcliffe holloway harrison stewart cutino dawson jones (capt) watson oxtoby sutton govier watson Substitutes: whitton wilson lenton
Keighley: ebbrell kay wilsonson everett sugden brown clarke spenser minikin booker cunliffe fox snowden lowther baldwin Substitutes: heys inman uren
Scarborough News "Man of the Match": jonty holloway
Young Jonty has impressed from his first game at this level and his brain, pace and bravery was much in evidence in this game; not to mention his three tries!