Scarborough return to winning ways at Pontefract

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Having trailed 10-6 at the break in a hastily rearranged Yorkshire One fixture postponed from the previously Saturday, a great second half display in which they scored four tries saw a re-shuffled Scarborough side to a bonus point 28-13 victory at Pontefract.

Scarborough turned the screw from the off and droved deep into home territory and when a Pontefract defender strayed offside on his own 22, centre Tom Ratcliffe kicked the visitors 3-0 ahead with only a minute on the clock.

The first quarter of the game was evenly matched with play swinging from end to end; however defences held sway and Ponte’s only reward came from a penalty from fly-half Jamie Benn to tie the scores at 3-3 in the 22nd minute.

The Seasiders dominated the breakdown but were hampered by a referee who gave little time to contest for the ball on the ground and open-side flanker Nino Cutino was sin-binned in the 32nd minute for hands in a ruck. The west Yorkshiremen applied more pressure up front on the seven-man visiting pack and when Zbynec Schutz infringed at a scrum on his own line, Pontefract were awarded a penalty try and the Scarborough scrum-half was yellow carded reducing the visitors to 13 men.

Benn added the extras for a 10-3 lead in the 35th minute.

Undeterred, the depleted visitors took the game to the home side and Ratcliffe reduced the arrears to four points with the resulting penalty when Ponte infringed just before the break.

Trailing 10-6 Scarborough came out with all guns firing at the start of the second half and grabbed a lead they never relinquished for the rest of the game. Quick ball from the pack was moved wide and winger Graeme Jeffrey stepped inside to outpace a pedestrian home defence and nudge the visitors 11-10 ahead in the 45th minute. Ratcliffe missed the difficult conversion.

However, the visiting forwards with Cutino restored to action and front rower Luke Raines in punishing form, were now dominating the battle up front and from possession on the Ponte 22, Cutino powered over in the 52nd minute for his tenth try of the season; Ratcliffe converted for 18-10.

Benn reduced the arrears to 18-13 with a penalty in the 56th minute to keep Ponte in touch but it was only a short respite as the visitors continued to boss the forward battle and move the ball wide where the incursions of Corey Dennis at full-back was a constant thorn in Pontefract’s side. And when the home defence was sucked in at a ruck, the ball was moved wide for Jeffrey to step on the gas, outstrip the wide defence and touchdown for 23-13 just after the hour.

Christened Try-Magnet last season, Ratcliffe inevitably rounded off proceedings with a signature surging run and touchdown in the 72nd minute that brings his personal points tally for the club to 264 so far this season.

This was Scarborough’s third success against Ponte this season and they were full value for their bonus-point win. A committed performance from the re-shuffled 18-man squad led by stand-in skipper Nick Ingham, saw Nino Cutino and Luke Raines again dominate the breakdown for the visitors who were well marshalled behind the scrum by fly-half Tom Harrison.

Drafted in at full-back, Corey Dennis was more than lively and in the case of veteran utility forward Graeme Jeffrey who scored two tries; well, class will out. The big Geordie has been performing with distinction at centre, wing and full-back for the Seasiders for so many seasons now; he seems to always have been there.

Coach Jason Lowde will look to his side to take the confidence engendered by this win into the three remaining games this season.