Scarborough fell 12 points behind at the start of their derby game with high-flying Malton, and though they battled back with three tries of their own came up short as a more incisive home side earned a bonus-point 29-21 win from a pulsating encounter at the Gannock.
The Seasiders lost the services of influential wing Harry Domett, who broke a finger in a domestic mishap late on Friday and Joe Lenton started on the left wing.
Scarborough’s kick-off was fielded just outside the Malton 22 and they spent the first couple of minutes there.
However when full-back Sizwe Zondo broke from deep, play was taken from 22 to 22 and from possession just short of the Scarborough line, open side flanker Sam Triffitt burrowed over in the fourth minute for a 5-0 lead. Winger Ian Cooke missed the conversion.
The visitors struggled at the early set-scrums but just about held their own; however they retained possession with a series of pick-and-goes and looked good in the close-quarter exchanges.
But having spent 10 minutes in home territory they lost possession and once again Malton broke from deep down their right flank and having exerted pressure at the other end Triffitt went over for a carbon-copy of his first score in the 14th minute.
Cooke added the extras for a 12-0 Malton lead.
Scarborough had a plenty of territorial possession going into the second quarter but despite good work by their forwards and slick handling from the backs they just couldn’t breach a solid Malton defence.
Camped on the home line, something had to give and when No8 Matthew Else broke from the base and was stopped near the line, a double dummy by scrum-half Martin Robinson at the resulting ruck saw the big scrum-half outfox three defenders to score wide on the right in the 27th minute.
Full-back Tom Harrison landed the two-pointer and Scarborough trailed 7-12.
The half ended with a couple of yellow cards; Scarborough prop Wesley Langkilde went in the 39th minutes for tackling without the use of his arms followed by Malton flanker Tom Lowry on the stroke of half-time.
Not for the first time this season Scarborough lost concentration at the beginning of the second half and conceded with less than a minute of the second 40 played when No8 Ali Coe went over for Malton following a bullocking run by centre Josh Heggie.
Cooke added the conversion for 19-7.
The third quarter belonged to the visitors with their set-pieces working and skipper Tom Ratcliffe, fly-half Tomasz Chadwick and the busy Tom Harrison at full-back taking advantage of clean possession to run some great lines.
A looping run from mid-field by Ratcliffe took him almost to the Malton line but once there a combination of solid defence and a lack of composure conspired to prevent a score with the Seasiders adjudged to be held up over the line twice.
The visitors camped on the Malton line but surge after surge was stopped short or held up over the line before substitute scrum-half Jordi Wakeham dived over from close range.
However referee Mr Rayner spotted an infringement and went under the posts for a Scarborough penalty try in the 62nd minute.
Harrison converted reducing the arrears to five points at 19-14.
With one Malton prop injured and another sin-binned the game went to uncontested scrums in the 65th minute.
With skipper Triffitt also sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on near his own line, Malton were reduced to 13 men and it was game on.
However the visitors lost their shape and just couldn’t capitalize on their numerical advantage even though they spent the majority of this period deep in Malton territory.
And when the home side broke the shackles and Scarborough infringed outside their 22, Cooke punished them with the resulting penalty to stretch the lead to 22-14 in the 74th minute.
Contested scrums were restored with five minutes to go and from a Scarborough put-in on their 22, Malton struck against the head and Heggie thundered into the 22 before releasing scrum-half Paul Angus to romp over.
Cooke converted for 29-14.
From the re-start Scarborough won a scrum on the home 22 and the ever-alert Wakeham darted over from the base between the uprights.
Harrison improved the score with the extra two.
Trailing by eight at 29-21 the visitors looked for a score to earn at least a losing bonus point but ran out of time.
Scarborough had the lion’s share of the territory but lacked composure and incisiveness in possession in the opposition 22.
Malton on the other hand had few chances but took them with aplomb and deserved their bonus-point win from a cracking game.
In a battling Scarborough performance pick of the pack were Hopper, Ingham, Chapman, Ogilivie and Else. Behind them Chadwick, Robinson, Wakeham, Ratcliffe and Harrison took the plaudits.