SCARBOROUGH Pirates suffered a 26-14 defeat at home to Cutsyke Raiders in their opening league game of the season.
Two tries in three minutes midway through the second half was the turning point in what till then had been an even game on opening day.
Firstly a clever chip through by Lee Cartwright was collected by Mathew Willis, then a try twisting free of a tackle by Paul Watson on 59 minutes, both of which were kicked by Arron Thirling, saw Cutsyke swing an eight-point deficit into a four-point lead and take the wind out of the Pirates sails.
The Pirates took an immediate lead on two minutes, when second row giant Keith Paddock had the ball ripped from his grasp in the tackle. James Millward struck with the boot to edge in front.
The visitors however looked confident and came straight back into the match.
A high ball wasn’t dealt with, Mike Picken and Oliver Battye both colliding in trying to take in the breeze and knocking on.
On their own 20 metre line the Pirates had no answers, with full back Chris Singer darting in to score. Paul Watson hit a perfect goal from the touchline to ease the Raiders in front 6-2.
The Pirates pressed to get back in front with replacements Paul Taylor and Jamie Broadmore making immediate impact with some penetrating drives up though the centre. Sam Hakings looked sharp in both attack and defence, with 16-year-old Ben Owram demonstrating a cool head when thrown on.
Dom Brining proved his worth carrying the ball, gaining 10 metres with each drive.
However the Raiders defence remained resolute.
After a period of constant pressure, Dave Douthwaite entered the line to break clear.
Billy Parker took the ball deep into the Raiders 20 metre line and the visitors were penalised for pulling him down as he got to his feet to play the ball.
Again the Raiders managed to thwart the Pirates, but a high kick from Jack Hakings on the fifth saw fleet-footed full-back Picken jump highest to gather the ball and score.
James Millward’s trusty boot swept over a lovely goal from wide, taking the Pirates into half time a slender two points ahead.
The home team started the second period with bluster. On 46 minutes Hull referee Richard Thompson penalised the Raiders for not being straight with markers. Billy Parker reacted quickly to tap and dive over to score just right of the posts.
Millward added the two to edge in front 14-6.
The ensuing 10 minutes proved to be crucial when Loz Brining and Paddock both went close to extending the lead, but were thwarted just short by some excellent defensive line work by the Raiders.
That defensive work was to spur the Raiders.
The Pirates pressed the self destruct button. Getting involved in verbal banter with their opponents was costly.
Penalised firstly for back-chat, then a high tackle from Jack Johnson left referee Thompson no choice but to sin-bin Johnson for 10 minute to cool down.
Down to 12 players and pinned in their own 10-metre line, the game was suddenly to swing in favour of the Raiders.
Firstly Willis then Watson went over with Thirling kicking both goals, to take a four-point advantage mid way through the second half.
A shell-shocked Pirates were on the rails.
They were not to give up without a fight, with Taylor and Broadmore again charging at the Raiders and gaining good ground.
The sides were to even up on 65 minutes when Gareth Smith followed Johnson to the sin-bin for interference after the tackle.
The clock ticked down and the Pirates kept battling.
A break from deep by winger Jack White was to ease the visitors, Picken and Battye combined to chase down and halt the speedy winger.
Late tries by the giant prop Simon Pye and the excellent hooker Paul Watson was to seize victory for the Raiders on 76 and 79 minutes, ending any hope of a late comeback.
Matchball sponsors The Welcome Inne chose stand-off Matt Willis of Cutsyke, with match sponsors The Bryherstones selecting loose forward Jack Hakings for the Pirates as Men of the Match.
The penalty count was again to be the downfall of the Pirates.
The young guns need to cut down the back-chat and keep the tackles low in future games or face the misery of more defeat.
With ball in hand, they are a force to be reckoned with, but putting themselves under pressure, three times in the game facing 18 straight tackles due to infringement was their undoing.