CRAIG FARRELL: Delight after solid first showing

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Scarborough Pirates’ summer season began in much the same way as their previous season’s entire summer campaign played out, with a comprehensive win on Saturday.

The Pirates defeated a young, but game East Leeds side 54-18 at Eastway Sports and Social Club in front of an appreciative and vociferous crowd. The Pirates’ greater experience and aggression proving too much for their younger opponents, who, despite playing brightly in the opening exchanges, visibly appeared to lose confidence after conceding tries in quick succession halfway through the first half.

Coach Adam Lee was pleased with his team’s performance and singled out a number of his own youngsters for particular praise:

“Alex Collins, Carl Stephenson and Nathan Hakings all deserve a big pat on the back for the making the step up into the summer team.”

“They’re all young lads but deserved their call-up after impressing during the winter season and all three of them stepped up their game on Saturday and acquitted themselves excellently.”

Lee was keen to emphasise that the future of the club is reliant on its younger players and that he is keen to blood the next crop of youngsters in the coming months.

“There were a number of young lads who didn’t feature for the first team this week but who are knocking on the door and who are the future of the club.

“The likes of Josh McNeil, Alex Paddock, Joe Hitchcock and Tom Read, to name but a few, are all chomping at the bit to get a chance in the first-team, they’re really valued as part of the squad and have all improved hugely after getting regular game time during the winter season.”

But for all the talk of the Pirates’ up and coming youngsters it was the established first-team players who caught the eye on Saturday.

Full-back Harry Sleep was in irresistible form, scoring a well-worked try off the back of a Jack Hakings’ offload to open the Pirates’ account for the season, and making a couple of telling breaks which utilised his blistering speed.

Harry was typically modest in his appraisal of his performance after the game saying:

“I talked the game up well from the back and ran them in circles. They couldn’t keep up with my pace.

“I made several try-saving one-on-ones and rounded half of their team to reach halfway from my own in-goal, best run of the game that was!”

Other notable performances came from centre Craig Marsden, whose typically solid and consistent performances can often go unnoticed but which are a vital cog in many of the Pirates’ successful performances.

Tom Ratcliffe, embarking on his second successive cycle of rugby union season into rugby league season and back again continued his fine form and crossed the whitewash from a smartly taken penalty for his customary try.

Another player fresh from finishing the rugby union season at Silver Royd, Billy Parker, also had a strong return to rugby league and managed in 80 minutes of the 13-a-side code what he failed to do in a an entire season of rugby union, and scored a try.

Billy will no doubt be pleased he won’t be participating in any end of season forfeits for the Pirates after scoring that try.

Oliver Battye also impressed, particularly with his aggressive defence.

This week the Pirates make the trip to Huddersfield to face Moldgreen, who suffered a heavy 52-16 defeat at the hands of Birstall Victoria last weekend. However, coach Adam Lee will not be taking anything for granted and will be keen for a repeat performance from his troops, as anything less than a solid win will be regarded as a disappointment.

I’m still at least a week short of playing after injuring my calf but I cannot wait to pull on my boots again and play what I consider to be the greatest game on Earth, which will hopefully be on May 18 against Bradford Dudley Hill.

Finally, don’t forget that Super League champions Leeds Rhinos are launching a Yorkshire Coast Supporters Group tomorrow, 7.30pm at Hunmanby Sports & Social Club.

The Super League trophy will be present for photo opportunities and it is intended that there with be a question and answer session with a Leeds Rhinos player.

The supporters group is free to join and members will receive benefits including special offers, invitations to exclusive events and the opportunity to meet with other fans on a regular basis.

They will be meeting every month to discuss the Rhinos, meet other fans socially and watch rugby league together, as well as organise group trips to watch the Rhinos.

For further information on the scheme or to register your interest to attend contact rhinofans@ycrl.co.uk, visit their Facebook page ‘Yorkshire Coast Leeds Rhinos Supporters Group’, or contact nick.settle@leedsrugby.com.