Scarborough - 1st XV
By Dave Campbell
Scarborough bagged a fifth consecutive win with a late-late show at Halifax scoring ten injury-time points to come from behind to win 34-32 at Old Rishworthians.
Starting with Phil Stewart in for the injured Tom Harrison and youngster Will Leah for Matty Oxtoby who was injured in training earlier in the week, the Seasiders played into the teeth of a gale force wind blowing down the Calder valley and found themselves trailing 7-15 after twenty minutes courtesy of four penalties and a drop-goal from the Howitzer boot of Rishworthians fly-half Josh Kelly, all wind-assisted efforts either from the half-way line or just inside his own half.
A try from No8 Ben Martin converted by Tom Ratcliffe had briefly given the visitors a 7-6 lead after six minutes.
Even into the teeth of a gale, it was perhaps Scarborough’s least convincing spell this season as they struggled with their ball retention and in contesting the breakdown. They were looking to get to the break without further upset but fell behind when a midfield pop pass from Matty Jones to Jim Perrett was intercepted by Rishworthians scrum-half Ed Cockroft on half way and he galloped away to ground under the posts in the 36th minute. Kelly added the extras for 22-7.
Coach Simon Smith’s charges stuck to their task and following a period of forward pressure on the home line, the ball was moved to centre Tom Ratcliffe who powered over to the left of the posts and converted himself to reduce the arrears to eight points at the break.
With the wind behind them in the second half Scarborough really looked like they meant business and scored within a minute of the re-start when Ben Martin went over for his second touchdown following good hands by the visitors to peg the home side back at 22-19.
The west Yorkshiremen showed spirit and no little skill and confident handing into the wind and a slick up-field move ended with Kelly crossing in the 46th minute. The big number ten converted and added a penalty five minutes later for a 32-19 Rishworthians lead.
Scarborough heads never went down and the forward pack took on their opposite numbers with some terrific carrying and driving play with props Paul Taylor and particularly Mikey Whitton who was breaching the gain line almost at will with a muscular performance and following sustained pressure on the home line, the ever alert Ben Martin got the touch at a push-over to clinch a hat-trick of tries in the 66th minute and reduce the lead to 32-24.
In a frenetic finish with time running out, a couple of home defenders were sin-binned for slowing the ball down at the ruck and with time apparently up Ratcliffe showing good game management, kicked a close-range penalty to earn what would have been a losing bonus point for his side.
The Seasiders secured the ball from Rishworthians re-start and moved up-field from their own 22 in injury time. A move up the middle saw centre Bill Parker break several tackles and stretch out to level the scores at 32-32 in the third minute of injury time to great jubilation from the visiting players. And Ratcliffe completed a remarkable turnaround with the conversion for a 34-32 win and the celebrations commenced.
Old Rishworthians will feel absolutely gutted to have lost a game which with a bit of composure, they really should have won. Scarborough will probably want to forget the first half but will certainly want to remember the fight they showed in a battling second half in which they never gave up.
Again their youthful eight worked so hard and none more so than Mikey Whitton, Aaron Wilson, Ben Martin and Drew Govier. Behind them halfbacks Jordi Wakeham and veteran Phil Stewart grafted hard and Billy Parker, Harry Domett, Jonti Holloway and Jim Perrett made the hard yards. Tom Ratcliffe carried out the kicking duties with confidence.
Over the eighty minutes this was a LOW-PAR PERFORMANCE from the Seasiders with their ball retention and work at the breakdown way below par. However it was a GREAT RESULT considering the loss of play-maker Harrison the week before and the superb kicking of Rishworthians’s Josh Kelly. And the magnificent (I use the word advisedly) team spirit shown in this game and the resolve of stand-in fly-half Phil Stewart augers well for the difficult weeks ahead.
Tries: martin 3, ratcliffe, parker
Conversions: ratcliffe 3
Tries: cockroft, kelly
Conversions: kelly 2
Penalties: kelly 6
Scarborough: perrett holloway ratcliffe parker domett wakeham stewart whitton jones(c) taylor wilson leah e.govier d.govier martin Substitutes: white cutino dawson
Old Rishworthians: l.flanagan shoesmith bake d.heseltine scrimshaw kelly cockroft whitfield day kershaw c.heseltine swarbrooke rollings c.flanagan andrews Substitutes: turner waud robinson
Scarborough News "Man of the Match": michael whitton
Starting the season as a front row substitute, Mikey has impressed on every appearance. With the suspension of two of the club’s very experienced front-rowers he stepped up to the plate with Paul Taylor, the best tight-head in Yorkshire One; believe me! Not only did he and his tight-five colleagues boss the scrums but Mikey in particular must have made more yardage and crossed the gain line more often than any forward of either side on the paddock.