W 32 - 23
By Dave Campbell
Scarborough bounced back from the disappointments of the last couple of weeks with a twelfth bonus-point win of the season over in-form Middlesbrough to move up to third in Yorkshire One.
The Teesiders who had ended league-leaders York’s unbeaten run last week, went off like a train and swept up-field into a capricious wind with backs and forwards combining with slick precision. However despite their movement they lacked penetration.
The Seasiders were solid in defence and having withstood the early onslaught, broke the shackles with a massive hoof out defence by fly-half Tom Ratcliffe which took them over half way.
Having secured possession from the resulting lineout, the visitors lost possession on their own ten metre line and were subsequently penalised at a ruck. With a following wind Ratcliffe had no problems with the kick and Scarborough led 3-0 after 11 minutes.
With the front row of Matty Jones, Sam Dawson and Nino Cutino getting their fair share of possession from the scrums, the potent Scarborough back row came more into the game with Drew Govier, Aaron Wilson and Ben Martin very much making their presence felt. And when they combined with the backs wide on the left, lock Phil Watson was released on the open side of a maul and powered over in the 14th minute. Ratcliffe added the extras from the touchline to extend the lead to 10-0.
Middlesbrough fly-half Andy Baggett reduced the arrears to seven points when Scarborough was penalized for not releasing in the 20th minute. From the re-start the Seasiders regained possession and No8 Ben Martin ploughed through an upright visiting defence before releasing wing Jonty Holloway to dance inside the cover and touchdown in the 22nd minute. Ratcliffe converted via a timely gust of wind and an upright for 17-3.
Stung by this reverse the visitors pressed deep in the Scarborough 22 and when prop Nino Cutino was yellow carded for killing the ball on his own line, Middlesbrough second row Billy Campbell stretched over from close range to reduce the arrears at 17-8 on the half hour. Baggett’s conversion attempt was charged down by Scarborough’s Jimmy Perrett who left the field five minutes later following a collision with Boro’ fullback MattyTodd.
The visitors continued to turn the screw against the depleted home side and when Sam Dawson joined his front row colleague Cutino in the sin-bin, prop Josh Lynas barged over from the next play on the 40th minute. Baggett’s conversion attempt missed and Scarborough led 17-13 at the break.
Middlesbrough were reduced to thirteen men when they had players sin-binned in the 42nd and 45 minutes and Nino Cutino celebrated his return to the fray when he powered over in the 46th minute to stretch the Scarborough lead to 22-13 in the 46th minute. Ratcliffe failed to convert.
Dawson rejoined the battle in the 50th minute but Martin took a knock on the ankle and limped off five minutes later to be replaced by Chris Purdy. With no quarter given or asked the battle royal continued and Middlesbrough replacement prop Luke Show crossed from close-range in the 57th minute and Baggett converted to reduce the arrears to a couple of points at 22-20 and it was game on.
In a pulsating final quarter Scarborough maintained their composure and continued to think on their feet. And when Harry Domett fielded a clearance from Baggett, the muscular wingman skipped through a despairing Middlesbrough defence to score and raise the Silver Royd temperature a couple of degrees stretching the lead to 27-20 in the 62nd minute.
And the seesaw nature of the encounter continued when Baggett reduced the arrears to five points with a penalty in the 65th minute before Scarborough were awarded a penalty between the visitors’ ten and twenty-two metre lines; Fly-half Ratcliffe took a quick tap and the ball was moved swiftly wide through hands for replacement wing Jack Anderson to sprint over in the corner in the 68th minute to stretch the lead to 32-23.
A tense, frenetic final ten minutes ensued but skipper Matty Jones’s men maintained their intensity of effort to run out deserved winners of a hugely entertaining game. A good pack performance was augmented by solid performances by makeshift halfback pairing of Jordan Wakeham and Tom Ratcliffe. Behind them the back division were slick and well served by all five of the reshuffled unit.
Tries: phil watson, jonty holloway, nino cutino, harry domett, jack anderson
Conversions: ratcliffe x 2
Tries: billy campbell, josh lynas, luke show
Conversions: andy baggett
Penalties: andy baggett x 2
Scarborough: young holloway parker perrett domett ratcliffe wakeham jones dawson taylor readman watson wilson d.govier martin Substitutes: whitton purdy anderson
Middlesbrough: todd kilbride mcphillips c.campbellmoloney bagget foley lynas hoare clark w.campbell tremlett kay wilson lonsdale Substitutes: shaw colvin hill
Scarborough News "Man of the Match": the front row
No weak links in this game but Scarborough played much of the game on the front foot thanks to terrific performances in the tight and loose from Matty Jones, Sam Dawson, Nino Cutino and Mikey Whitton.