W 34 - 32
By Dave Campbell
Scarborough maintained their play-off spot in North One East as they edged another Silver Royd thriller. Visitors Percy Park fought-back from a 29-10 half-time deficit to nudge 32-29 ahead late in the game before the Seasiders broke their hearts with a try in injury time to clinch the points.
Scarborough made a bit of a mess of the kick-off and were immediately under pressure in the opening exchanges; however when the visitors had the put-in at a scrum in the shadow of the Scarborough posts, the home eight struck against the head and ran the ball from the own line. Fullback Jimmy Perrett put his foot on the gas and surged out of his own half before moving the ball through several pair of hands to flanker Euan Govier who scored between the uprights at the other end of the paddock; fly-half Tom Ratcliffe converted for 7-0 with six minutes on the clock.
‘Park’ almost replied immediately when right wing Ali Blair was released just outside the home 22 to sprint for the line; however his opposite number Jonty Holloway effected a superb cover tackle and the danger was averted. However Percy Park reduced the arrears at 3-7 in the tenth minute when experienced fly-half and Newcastle Falcons Coach Ash Smith punished a Scarborough infringement with a well-taken penalty.
And the excitement continued unabated; Ratcliffe kicked a penalty into the visitors’ 22 and a Park defender leapt to prevent the ball going into touch; however it crossed the try line and he was pressured to touch it down in-goal. Scarborough pushed the resulting scrum over the visitors’ line and No8 Ben Martin touched down to score; Ratcliffe added the extras for a 14-3 lead in the 15th minute.
And the Seasiders stretched their lead further in the 26th minute when, following pressure on the Park line in-form scrum-half Jordi Wakeham took a quick tap penalty and sent flanker Drew Govier over. Ratcliffe made it 21-3 with his kick.
Scarborough then lost the services of Wakeham in the 29th minute when he was accidentally cut in the face by a stray boot at the breakdown; veteran Phil Stewart replaced him. A minute later a break and kick ahead from half-way by Ratcliffe saw the ball recovered as Percy Park were turned over and winger Matty Young released centre Aaron Wilson to cross wide on the Scarborough right. Ratcliff failed to convert but kicked a penalty five minutes later for 29-3. However the Seasiders lost the services of Martin, sin-binned in the 35th minute.
The visitors came back strongly in the final five minutes of the half and following a period of pressure in the Scarborough 22 centre Charlie Greswold powered over to the left of the uprights; Smith converted to cut the lead to 29-10 at the break.
I don’t know what Percy Park coach Lawrence Patton said at half time but his charges came out with all guns blazing; the Seasiders were undoubtedly hampered by the loss of Wakeham who was taken to hospital to have a nasty facial wound stitched but the visitors really had the bit between their teeth and it was no surprise when Ash Smith deftly offloaded to centre Seb Rees who crossed in the 47th minute; Smith converted and it was game on at 29-17.
Scarborough looked sluggish and their defensive line-speed had dropped or perhaps it was made to look that way by the lively visitors whose efforts were being orchestrated by the experienced Smith who was having a great game.
It wasn’t one-way traffic by any means and Scarborough spent several extended periods in the Percy Park 22 but they lacked the fizz they showed in the opening half-hour of the game. And alarm bells began to ring in the Scarborough ranks when flanker Ethan Wilson touched down and Smith Converted to reduce the arrears to seven points at 29-22 in the 58th minute. And it was no great surprise when Percy Park equalized in the 65th minute when Smith converted Greswold’s second touchdown for 29-29.
A couple of yellow cards and the balance of the first half sin-binning saw Scarborough play 26 minutes of the second half with 14 men but they kept their composure considering they had squandered such a big lead.
With time running out the men from North Shields looked as if they had completed their amazing fight-back when Ash Smith kicked a long-range penalty for a 32-29 lead in the 79th minute.
The main stand started to empty but in the words of Warren Gatland talking about his Grand Slam winning Welsh side, at times Scarborough’s class of 2018-19 just don’t know how to lose. Percy Park were penalized twice in their own half and Scarborough had the put-in at an attacking scrum on the Percy Park 5 metre line; replacement scrum half Phil Stewart picked-up and drove to the line on the narrow side; Sam Dawson who had moved back to blind-side flanker followed up and drove over in the corner for 34-32 in the second minute of injury time.
The Seasiders fielded and secured the Percy Park re-start and kept possession picking and driving forward until the visitors went off their feet at the ruck and were penalized by referee David Downham; Ratcliffe kicked into touch to end the game much to the relief of the Silver Royd faithful and the disappointment of the North Shields contingent who knew the game could have gone either way.
Following a terrific first half display, Coach Simon Smith’s charges missed the influence of the injured Jordi Wakeham and suffered from a couple of yellow cards as Percy Park came back strongly after the break. However they maintained their composure and spirit and not for the first time this season came up with a winner in ‘Smithy time’.
Tries: e. govier, martin, d. govier, wilson, dawsom
Conversions: ratcliffe x 3
Tries: greswold x 2, rees, wilson
Conversions: smith x 3
Penalties: smith x 2
Scarborough: perrett young wilson parker holloway ratcliffe wakeham cutino dawson jones brown leah e.govier d.govier martin Substitutes: stewart rennard williams
Scarborough News "Man of the Match": the scarborough back row (brothers euan and drew govier and ben martin)
In a game where Scarborough led 29-10 at the break their young back-row scored a try apiece of the four first half touchdowns through their effective support play. They also contributed greatly in defence in a second half when visitors Percy Park dominated.