Scarborough’s enigmatic journey in Yorkshire One continued on Saturday with yet another disjointed performance on the road.
This time Dave Beck’s team suffered at a sparsely-populated Knottingley ground where they surrendered a lead late in the game to yet again lose by less than a score.
If they are ever to progress in Yorkshire One this is the sort of game they have to win away from their Silver Royd comfort blanket.
Scarborough started without No8 Phil Watson, a late dropout, and Wayne Adams deputised.
They took the game to the west Yorkshiremen from the off and only a foot in touch prevented wingman Rob James from opening the scoring in the fourth minute.
However a Knottingley player drifted offside and fly-half Tom Harrison kicked his side 3-0 ahead in the fourth minute.
The visitors’ lead was short-lived however and when the home side attacked up their right flank, missed tackles by Harrison and right wing Rob Squire, who slipped on the greasy surface, led to Knottingley fullback Ben Rowlands sprinting over for the first try of the game in the 10th minute.
Fly-half Steve Rockett missed the simple conversion.
Leading 5-3 Knottingley turned the screw and lock Steve Chippendale and No8 Gary Field made inroads into a sluggish visiting defence.
When Scarborough were penalised at a scrum in the 11th minute, Rockett slotted the penalty from 30 metres to stretch the lead to 8-3.
The hosts took the game by the scruff of the neck, harrying a tentative visiting defence, but Nick Ingham’s men stuck to their task and when the west Yorkshiremen infringed just outside their own 22, Harrison kicked the resulting penalty to make the score 8-6 in the 20th minute.
The home back row was at this point running the game with last year’s Morley skipper Gary Field outstanding.
When yet again the visitors infringed under pressure, Rockett goaled for 11-6 on the half hour.
Stung by that score, Scarborough drove up-field and when a Knottingley player drifted offside, Harrison punished the infringement with another sweetly struck penalty in the 32nd minute to reduce the arrears at 11-9.
Knottingley came straight back from the re-start, but a move that began under their own posts saw the Seasiders move the ball through four pairs of hands before Harrison touched down to put his side ahead.
Harrison, who had started the move that led to his try in his own 22, converted for a 16-11 lead in the 39th minute.
Harrison had a chance to stretch the visitors’ lead with a long distance penalty attempt on the stroke of half-time following a high tackle, but his attempt fell just short and Scarborough went into the break five points to the good.
Scarborough took the game to Knottingley early in the second half and had a scrum underneath the home posts but they lost possession and Rowlandson cleared his lines to halfway with a superb kick.
Under pressure from the home back row, an underperforming Scarborough pack were shipping penalties with the home loose forwards, urged on by Field, taking control.
Under pressure behind a retreating pack, young scrum-half Jake Rollinson performed with bravery and no little skill.
As the game went into the final quarter the home back row looked more and more dangerous and when Field almost went over in the 65th minute, Scarborough infringed and Rockett reduced the arrears to a couple of points at 16-14.
Scarborough appeared to have ditched the basics and when wingman Rob Squire elected to pass the ball infield behind his own try-line rather than dispatch it to touch, a knock-on ensued.
From the resulting scrum in front of the Scarborough uprights, a Rockett drop-goal nudged his side 17-16 ahead in the 72nd minute.
Rockett then kicked his fourth penalty of the afternoon two minutes later following good work from his forwards to give his side breathing space at 20-16.
Scarborough should have clinched the game with about six minutes left on the clock when a popped pass by Edwards would have released Rob James to flop over and score with the line at his mercy.
However, Knottingley winger Steve Cutts deliberately knocked on to avert a certain try and was yellow carded.
Referee Andrew Scott declined the visitors’ appeal for a penalty try and Scarborough made a mess of their catch and drive attempt from the resulting penalty.
Scarborough then lost the services of lock Matthew Else and Harrison late in the game but failed to raise their game for the unconverted try which would have secured the points and a second win on the road.
Coach Dave Becks’s charges have revelled in broken play to get their free scoring backs into the game this season.
However, in the vast majority of games forwards win matches and backs determine by how much.
The Seasiders’ eight were outplayed for lengthy periods in this match and consequently failed to provide a platform for those behind them to get into the game.
In fact the hard-tackling by two of the youngest and smallest men on the park Jake Rollinson and Rob Squires put many of their more experienced team-mates to shame.
With high-flying Keighley next up at Silver Royd much work is needed on the training paddock this week.