A Tom Ratcliffe hat-trick guided Scarborough Pirates to a narrow 44-34 victory at home to Holderness Vikings in this East Coast encounter.
The Vikings stole the early initiative with two early strikes in the opening seven minutes, on the back of sloppy handling from a lacklustre Pirate side.
Craig Farrell took charge, spurring his side for more effort. His quick play of the ball, gave Ratcliffe time and space to find flying full-back Harry Sleep to reduce the deficit.
From the re-start, Jamie Broadmore powered through three players to break away, well backed up by Dom Brining, who stepped inside to pop up a pass into the arms of Farrell,
As the defence caught up with the stand off, he offloaded to Sleep to go over for his second in as many minutes.
Ratcliffe kicked both goals and on the quarter hour the scores were level at 12-12.
The Vikings were still causing havoc, with the ball switching from side to side the gaps appeared in the Pirates defensive line. Ali McLeod charged over to regain the lead.
This was to be short-lived, in what was a bizarre incident, Farrell spilled the ball backward as he got to his feet to play the ball, with Martin Robinson picking up and running 20 metres to score unopposed as the Vikings berated referee Phil Lawley for not giving the knock on. Ratcliffe’s boot remained consistent and the Pirates were level again.
A 12-minute burst saw the Pirates take a two-score lead.
Firstly the strength of Farrell to crash over under legs, had the crowd roaring in appreciation of his commitment.
Then Ratcliffe opened his try scoring with a dancing run, side-stepping four defenders to go over. His magic boots did the trick with the conversions to take a 30-18 lead.
Now looking more comfortable in control of the game, the home side settled.
As the clock ticked toward half-time, indiscipline among the ranks saw referee Lawley give two penalties with players questioning decisions.
This proved costly as Mike Penny scored his second of the game for the visitors to go into the break just one score behind at 30-24
Sleep was lost to a back injury and Craig Marsden moved from the wing to cover at full back. He was soon called into action in the second half, crashing Vikings winger Mark Lyons into play just in front of the corner flag to stop a try.
Centre Oliver Battye earned a sin-bin, taking one for the team, in pulling back the speedy Lyons who chased a kick through, in the next set of six, to thwart another certain try.
After weathering the early pressure, Ratcliffe gave his team the boost they needed, as he intercepted the ball to break 70 metres, adding four more vital points.
The game still had twists and turns, with the Vikings getting the luck of the bounce on a high wall, Shaun Hall looked to gather, but the ball shot up in favour of winger Lyons to go over.
At 34-30 either side could take charge and secure victory at this point.
Chris Backhouse came on for the Pirates with great effect. He was busy at dummy half and quick thinking saw him nip in to score just right of the posts. Ratcliffe scored the goal and the Pirates eased back to a 10 point lead.
On 70 minutes, Ratcliffe danced clear again to seal the win and remain unbeaten for the season.
A consolation try late in the game pulled back the 10-point gap at 44-34.
Ratcliffe deservedly got the man of the match award from match sponsor Steve Davis, of Senior Glass.
Team: Sleep, Jenkinson, Battye, Johnson, Marsden, Farrell, Ratcliffe, D Brining, A Lee, Broadmore, Robinson, Sutton, S Hakings, Douthwaite, Backhouse, Young, Tindall, Paddock, Hall