Scarborough Pirates player-coach Adam Lee was keen to look on the bright side despite his depleted side’s opening-day 22-6 home defeat against Illingworth.
The hosts were up against it from the start of their first-ever Yorkshire Men’s premier league match as they were without half-backs Lee (injured) and James Millward (work), as well as Billy Parker and Jack Hakings, who are still playing for Scarborough RUFC and Newlands Park football team respectively until their seasons end.
Lee said: “Considering we had both half-backs out we started very well and looked good early on, and when they took the lead it was somewhat against the run of play. Their number seven ripped the ball, which he did superbly eight or nine times during the game, and their try resulted from this. The try was converted and we were 6-0 down despite having played really well.”
The hosts were not deterred by conceding this try as they soon levelled when Nathan Hakings went over the line after going through four would-be tacklers, and his cousin Sam Hakings converted to level the scores.
In the final play of the opening 40 minutes the visitors regained the lead when the Illingworth number six intercepted a Pirates attack and the away team broke clear to go over. They then added the conversion to lead 12-6 at the break.
Lee added: “After doing well early on it was a well-contested first half, and we also started brightly in the second half, but started to concede too many penalties which made it hard for ourselves.
“They scored their second try on 65 minutes, but missed the conversion. We had chances to get back into the game, but failed to take them and then with the last play of the game they scored another try and converted it to make it 22-6.”
The player-coach, who is sidelined with a broken finger, said: “We played very well considering we had a lot of experienced players missing.
“Illingworth gave the man of the match to Tom Jenkinson, but I also thought that our centres Matty Young and Oliver Battye were outstanding as they put in some crunching tackles.
“Our forwards battered them but they were clever and that is why they won the match.”
The Pirates now head to a strong Sharlston Rovers side on Saturday for their next league clash, and Lee is hoping that Jack Johnson will return to the squad for this clash.