Pirates battle hard to see off Leeds Akkies

Pirates' Jack Hakings is surrounded by Leeds Akkies players
Pirates' Jack Hakings is surrounded by Leeds Akkies players

Three quick tries just after half-time sealed victory for the Scarborough Pirates from a game in which they struggled to take command.

In the first half, the lead swang in both directions. Scarborough took an early lead on five minutes when Tom Ratcliffe popped up a pass to stand off Craig Farrell, who side stepped clear to touch down under the posts. Ratcliffe added the goal.

The visitors seemed to be playing with more desire though, and on eight minutes a penalty against the Pirates in their own 20 metres for breaking early from the scrum allowed the Leeds lads to take the tap quickly and move the ball left to a three man over lap.

Centre Tom Bates flew over to score and Lee Robinson converted.

Inspired by the score, the travelling Akkies moved up a gear. Continuing to throw the ball out, they found gaps and exploited a poor Pirates defensive line three minute later.

From a penalty that saw Pirates full-back Harry Sleep sin-binned for a dangerous challenge, Chris Roda buried under legs to power in and take the lead.

Robinson again added two more points.

When you are struggling, you need fortune, and from the re-start this came for the Pirates.

A high ball was captured wide right by the speedy winger Tom Jenkinson, who nipped in to catch the ball between two Akkie defenders. The ball moved quickly right, with Ratcliffe cunningly creating space with his sharp footwork and Craig Marsden dived full length to score just inside the corner flag.

With a man down however, the lacklustre defensive line was to be punished again. Marsden had gone into full-back in place of the sin-binned Sleep. The Leeds lads pressed up the left and Bates found space to score out wide on 19 minutes.

Sleep returned and the Pirates sprung into life. Jack Hakings got into his stride and fed Farrell consistently.

Farrell had the edge in class and the Akkies had no answer to his intelligent play. The pressure was rewarded just before half-time when Ratcliffe put Sleep into a gap to touch down. Ratcliffe kicked the goal to take his team into the interval level at 16-16

Coach Chirs Keld put in a demanding half-time team talk to his players, who had been in second gear during the first period.

From the re-start the Pirates looked more determined and driven. Hakings chipped through on 44 minutes for centre Oliver Battye to gather a difficult bouncing ball to score.

Then minutes later Farrell dummied a pass and stepped in for his second of the game. Ratcliffe had his kicking boots on and the Pirates took a two socre lead at 28-16.

Adam Lee left an elbow high in the tackle and referee David Mitchell gave the hooker 10 minutes in the sin-bin for his action.

Martin Robinson moved into the hooker postion, taking advantage of this stint, opting not to move the ball, but to go for the line alone. He evaded three tackles to score on the quarter point of the game.

Keld brought on fresh legs in Shaun Outhart, Shane Young and debutant Kieron Tindall, to run at the Leeds Akkies back line, who were down to just 13 with three injuries depleting their options.

James Millward, who was back in the squad for the first time this year, defied his lack of match practice, making several darting runs.

However the man of the match award, chosen by sponsors Jamie and Jane Daniels, went to full-back Harry Sleep, who had come into the line with great effect throughout the game.

At 38-16 a sound victory came from the stuttering start and the Pirates’ superb season to date continues.