Scarborough - 1st XV
By ANDY STANDING
Scarborough made the long trip to Grove Park, Settle to face North Ribblesdale looking to make it four wins in a row. Lee Douglas was forced into making changes to the side that beat Old Crosslyans with Tom Harrison unavailable and Graeme Jeffrey a late withdrawal with a back injury.
The visitors started brightly dominating possession and territory in the first few minutes albeit without threatening the Ribblesdale line and it was the hosts who opened the scoring on five minutes when scrum half, David Fox went over from close range. Steve Moon hit the post with what looked to be a simple conversion.
Almost immediately Scarborough hit back. Skipper Tom Ratcliffe took over the kicking duties from the absent Tom Harrison and made no mistake with a penalty from midway in the hosts half.
Straight from the restart Scarborough infringed and this time Steve Moon made no mistake, stroking the penalty home to restore the five point lead.
The visitors enjoyed a good spell of possession as they looked to get back into the game but were lacking in penetration, only Kiwi Isaac Faamau making any significant ground but handling error meant possession was gifted back to the hosts all too often. All Scarborough had to show for the possession was another three points from the boot of Ratcliffe.
North Ribblesdale on the other hand looked dangerous every time they ran with the ball. Long looping passes were dragging the Scarborough defence all over the place and twice youngster Toby Welsby made last ditch tackles to deny the hosts.
Another try for the hosts seemed on the cards and further indiscipline by Scarborough allowed Ribblesdale to kick for touch in the corner. A catch and drive from the lineout resulted in Jonny Richards touching down to extend the lead to 13-6.
Late in the half Wesley Langkilde was yellow carded for using his should in the tackle and you feared the flood gates may open however it was the visitors that upped their game. Mikey Readman stole a home lineout and Isaac Faamau made the break down the blindside, he offloaded to Mark Hopper who was hauled down agonisingly close to the line. Scarborough recycled the ball and worked it across the pitch and when the Ribblesdale infringed on the 5 metre line, scrum half Jordie Wakeham took a quick tap penalty and slid over to make the score 13-11 at the break.
It had been a lack lustre half by the visitors but they were still within a couple of points of the hosts. Lee Douglas would have been looking for a fast start to the second period but almost from the restart Ribblesdale were awarded a penalty. Moon missed the kick but from the restart the Scarborough defence parted like the red see allowing Matt Speres to gallop through four or five half hearted challenges to give the hosts the perfect start. Steve Moon made the conversion from in front of the posts to make it 20-11.
Ribb looked to turn the screw and only some last gasp defending kept them at bay but it wasn’t long before Moon slipped more half hearted challenges to score beneath the posts, he added the conversion to make it 27-11.
With the game beyond them Scarborough threw caution to the wind and finally started to play with some purpose. Martin Robinson made a great break and the ball was recycled and worked along the line and Matty Young had the easiest of finishes in the corner. Ratcliff missed the difficult conversion.
Scarborough upped the tempo and pushed forward but they were susceptible to the fast countering Ribblesdale. Matt Speres ripping the Scarborough defence apart every time he had the ball. However it was the visitors who were next to score. Wakeham again taking a quick tap penalty and sliding over to make it 27-21
It seemed hard to believe that with ten minutes left to play the visitors were within one score of victory having played so poorly. Sensing victory Scarborough piled forward putting Ribblesdale under pressure. The turning point came when Scarborough lost their own lineout close to the Ribblesdale line. Spere made yet another darting run taking possession well inside the Scarborough half. Scarborough infringed and Moon had the chance to make the game safe but once again he dragged his kick wide. Ratcliffe restarted and Spere collected the ball and skipped past several challenges on his way to his second try of the game. Moon kicked the difficult conversion to make it 34-21.
With the game beyond them the Scarborough heads went down and Ribbledale went looking for their sixth try. The visitors defence was again ripped apart as Richards made it 39-21 when he went over in the corner.
Moon wrapped the scoring up with a penalty to make the final score 41-21.
Ogilvie, Hopper, Langkilde, Readman, Watson, Martin, Rossol, Faamau, Wakeham, Chadwick, Young, White, Parker, Welsby, Ratcliffe subs Govier Zavatti and Robinson (all used)
Tries; Wakeham 2 Young
Pens; Ratcliffe 2
Man of the Match – Jordan Wakeham
It was an error strewn game from the visitors but once again it was the youngsters who provided the majority of the highlights. Toby Welsby made some great defensive tackle and both Ben Martin and Drew Govier looked sharp, however two moments of quick thinking by Jordan Wakeham gave him two tries and kept Scarborough in touch of an unlikely victory.
Lee Douglas would have been frustrated by how many unforced errors his side made. It wasn’t really a case of Scarborough playing badly but far too many players made far too many individual errors. It was quite remarkable that Scarborough were still in the game with 10 minutes to play. North Ribblesdale fully deserved their win and the margin of victory reflected their superiority.