Scarborough turned in a powerful performance with a much re-shuffled line-up to run in five memorable tries to beat visitors Dinnington 31-13 and put the disappointments of the past month behind them.
Ian Williams started at hooker for Luke Raines, Rob Sutton for Charlie Hoggard in the back row and Tom Goodman for Nino Cutino who started at open side flanker. The Seasiders kicked off in bone-numbingly cold conditions in front of a sparse Silver Royd turnout of 242.
Early pressure saw skipper Phil Watson’s men awarded a penalty on the visitors’ 10-metre line in the second minute but Tom Ratcliffe was just short with his kick; however the big centre made amends five minutes later when Scarborough won clean possession from their put-in at a scrum just outside their 22; the ball was moved left to right, through three pairs of hands for the club’s leading scorer to spot a gap and gallop off towards halfway. Slick inter-passing with winger Graeme Jeffrey saw the dual-code midfielder rip through some flimsy wide defence for his 15th try of the season before adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Dinnington came straight back from the re-start and looked dangerous with some cohesive driving through their forwards. Scarborough defended well and Cutino, who had switched to open-side flanker to replace the injured Chris Purdy was doing some terrific work at the breakdown.
However, a move by the visitors down their right flank between the Scarborough 10 and 22 metre lines saw a visiting forward who was obstructed from view by his teammates, power over in the 12th minute. Fly-half Johnny West added the extras to level the scores at 7-7.
Craig Farrell then joined the fray when Paul White limped off in the 16th minute.
The second quarter saw entertaining rugby played by both sides and only white line fever kept both lines intact. Scarborough looked dangerous every time they tested the visitors’ wide defence and when a ruck just outside the Dinnington 22 provided clean ball, good work by scrum-half Zbynec Schutz and fly-half Phil Stewart saw full-back Tom Harrison, up in support, dance over to touch down in the 26th minute. Ratcliffe converted for a 17-7 home lead.
The visitors reduced the arrears a minute later when West struck a long-distance penalty goal to cut the arrears to four points at 14-10.
With the experienced Farrell running the show and Harrison moved up to fly-half for Stewart, Scarborough began to dominate and when skipper Watson brushed aside some flailing tackles wide on the right in the visitors’ 22, the ball was moved wide through hands to the opposite flank where Harrison joined the line to score in the 34th minute. Ratcliffe was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt. West rounded off the half with a penalty in the 39th minute and Scarborough led 19-13 at the break.
Coach Jason Lowde’s charges dominated the third quarter of the game and some slick handling from wing Corey Dennis, Harrison, Farrell and Matty Young augmented by some powerful running from Jeffrey, No8 Phil Austen and flanker Cutino kept the visiting defence busy. A little more composure when they got within striking distance would surely have resulted in further tries. As it was the Seasiders were unsuccessful with penalty attempts from Ratcliffe and Harrison in the 40th and 57th minutes respectively and were hunting for a fourth try for a bonus point as the game went into the final quarter.
Dinnington had trouble escaping their own half for almost the entire second 40 minutes and defended in or around their 22. Great work from Dennis, Ratcliffe, Austen and Schutz released Farrell 10 metres infield on the visitors’ 22 and the former rugby league star purposefully powered over to stretch the lead to 24-13 in the 62nd minute. Harrison’s conversion attempt drifted past the right post.
With their tails up and Jason Lowde on as a substitute, Scarborough turned the screw and when Farrell made some hard yards wide on the left; he released Corey Dennis to surge over for a richly deserved try. Harrison added the icing for 31-13 with five minutes remaining.
The visitors did break the shackles in the dying minutes of the game and got out of their own half but good defence from Farrell, Dennis and Schutz snuffed out the danger.
Scarborough showed real character to bounce back in such fashion from disappointing performances in the last few weeks.
The forwards competed well in the tight where they dominated for much of the game and in the loose where their dynamic approach was reminiscent of the early games this season. Craig Farrell was the pick of the backs whose five tries were just reward for an enterprising performace.
Up front, the line-out worked well and it was good to see ex-skipper Nick Ingham back in the engine room with Phil Watson; Phil Austen had a good day at the office with Nino Cutino and Rob Sutton in the back row.