Scarborough progress into Shield semis after Guisborough victory

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Scarborough started this Yorkshire Shield quarter-final against high-flying Durham/Northumberland One outfit Guisborough as underdogs but unlike last week at Dinnington they won the toss and played with a bitterly cold gale force southerly wind behind them and used this advantage to run in three first half tries and set up a memorable victory.

The away side made a lively start through their forwards and wisely chose to keep the ball in hand against the wind as they drove deep into home territory.

Scarborough gave away a string of penalties in mid-field and at a catch-and-drive from a line-out in the home 22 the visitors drove to the line only for the Scarborough defence to rip the ball from the maul; a massive clearance by fly-half Tom Ratcliffe took play to mid-way in the visitor’s half.

Guisborough’s pack struggled to cope with the home eight at a scrum on their own 22 and following a string of penalties for scrum infringements at which Skipper Phil Wtason choose the scrum option, flanker Charlie Hoggard powered over in the 10th minute.

Ratcliffe added the extras with an intelligent kick which used the wind to curve it in and Scarborough led 7-0.

With their tails up, Scarborough went straight back with Ratcliffe putting in some massive wind-assisted line kicks to take play deep into the visitors half. However when the next score came three minutes later it was from mid-way in the Scarborough half; a Guisborough move broke down and the ball was moved to Ratcliffe between his 22 and 10 metres line; the big fly-half galloped three-quarters the length of the field leaving despairing would-be tacklers in his wake to score Silver Royd’s try of the season. He failed to add the conversion but the Seasiders led 12-0.

The visitors had to run from deep and were pinned back by the wind and their somewhat pedestrian mid-field which constantly telegraphed pop-passes with the recipient being gobbled up by a voracious Scarborough back row of Hoggard, Chris Purdy and the immense Matty Else, who was everywhere.

In front of them Paul Taylor, Nino Cutino and Mark Hopper were outstanding. Returning skipper Watson and his engine-room partner Matty Oxtoby were also giving the side some great ‘go forward’ options.

And it was no surprise when Cutino charged down a clearance following a lineout in the visitors 22 and Taylor drove over in the 18th minute for 17-0. Ratcliffe missed the conversion.

The second quarter saw Scarborough camped in Guisborough territory for long periods but over elaboration and solid defence from the visitors prevented a fourth first half try materializing.

The half ended with Guisborough spending time close to the home line, but Scarborough’s destructive physical defence held sway and their line remained intact.

With the advantage of the elements after the break Guisborough took the game to Scarborough and they laid siege to the home line with a series of catch-and-drives and looked to tap-and-go from penalties in the 22; however the Scarborough defence was absolutely magnificent and the Clevelanders just couldn’t get over the try line.

A slick bit of handling wide right for the visitors appeared to have sent winger Johnny Wardell in at the corner but the ball was dropped over the line and the chance had gone.

Scarborough did break out on occasions but a couple of clearance kicks from a crowded Ratcliffe were charged down and the visitors reapplied the pressure. A cross-field kick into the corner in the home 22 looked dangerous but ever-alert wingman Harry Domett dealt with it and the danger was averted.

As the game went into its final quarter and the visitors tired, Scarborough came back as an attacking force and breaks from defence from centres Benji Cottle and Billy Parker took the game into the Guisborough 22.

Jan Teiber, on as a substitute on the wing also made ground and when he was stopped illegally, the resulting kick and catch-and-drive took the ball to the visitors’ line.

Guisborough infringed in front of their posts but Scarborough chose to run the ball to no effect.

Late pressure in the home 22 at the death was repulsed and Scarborough ran out deserved 17-0 winners of a hard-fought game in very difficult conditions.

SCARBOROUGH: Jeffrey, Domett, Cottle, Parker, Lenton, Ratcliffe, Schutz, Cutino, Hopper, Taylor, Oxtoby, Watson(capt), Purdy, Hoggard, Else. SUBSTITUTES: Pickering, Nightingale, Goodman, Teiber.