Scarborough turned in another woeful defensive display going down 45-12 in a local derby at Dukes Park against a determined Bridlington outfit whose seven tries gained the bonus point needed to stay top of Yorkshire One.
It looked as if it was going to be a long afternoon for skipper Nick Ingham’s men when the home side took an early lead with only a couple of minutes on the clock.
A catch and drive from an attacking line-out saw Bridlington surge to the line and centre Gareth Roberts was on hand to drive over for the opening score. Veteran fly-half Jami Muru failed with his conversion attempt.
Most of the early action was in the middle of the field but when a great break from Scarborough’s Rob James split the home defence in the sixth minute, the Aussie centre found himself isolated and the danger was quickly snuffed out.
Scarborough did get on the scoreboard five minutes later when from a line-out in the home 22, number eight Phil Watson drove to the line for prop Jason Lowde to finish the move.
Harrison added the extras for a 7-6 lead.
Scarborough’s flimsy defence was exposed in the 23rd minute when the ever-alert Bridlington fullback Sizwe Zondo set off from his own 10 metre line to weave around some ‘after you Claude’ tackles releasing Muru to force his way over from short range.
The veteran Kiwi converted for 12-7.
The end to end stuff continued with Scarborough having the greater territorial possession and the home side counter attacking from deep with Zondo prominent.
The visitors forced their way back into contention in the 34th minute when Harrison kicked into the corner from a penalty and following good work by the forwards, Watson barged over to equalize. Harrison was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt and the sides turned round all square at 12-12.
Having ended the first half strongly Scarborough took the game to Bridlington from the re-start and having gained a foothold in the home 22, they camped there for the next 11 minutes.
A series of pick-and-goes, rucks, mauls and drives tempered by a touch of ‘White line fever’ saw much huffing and puffing from the visiting side with no reward, however some superb and concentrated Bridlington defence kept their line intact.
Bridlington took their first steps on the road to a resounding victory in the 52nd minute when a poorly directed kick downfield by Harrison was fielded by Zondo who ran it straight back at the Scarborough defence through several non-tackles before sending right wing Regan Stirk over in the corner to take the lead at 17-12. Muru missed the conversion.
On the hour the ‘House of Cards’ that is the Scarborough defence started to collapse and it was an alarming sight for the travelling faithful.
First Muru released centre Keiran Lawry to stroll in under the posts, then Zondo waltzed through some abysmal tackle attempts for an alarmingly soft try after 72 minutes before Muru, not the fastest of men, scythed through the middle swatting would be tacklers like irritating flies before offloading for Zondo who bagged his second touchdown.
Scarborough’s miserable afternoon was completed in injury-time when a dropped pass in front of their own posts surrendered possession and Gareth Roberts notched his second touchdown of the afternoon.
Four second half conversions from ‘marvellous Muru’ saw his side to a well-deserved 45-12 victory.
For a desperately disappointing Scarborough side lock Wayne Adams dominated the line-out with the able assistance of hooker Ian Williams, young scrum-half Jake Rollinson stuck to his task with almost no protection from his back row and Paul White lifted the tackle count in a ragged defensive line.
Scarborough certainly over the last couple of seasons has been one of the best defensive sides in Yorkshire One and arguably one of the fittest.
Only three games into the league programme and already they have conceded 14 tries and 98 points. Just short of five tries a game: it just cannot go on. This is relegation form and we’re still in September.
The back row was anonymous and the midfield needs introducing to one another.
Dave Beck’s charges ran out of steam in less than an hour and frankly like last week were a soft touch.
As ever, an aggressive and in-your-face Bridlington with the admirable Jamie Muru pulling the strings were just too much of a handful for Scarborough who appeared not to relish the challenge.
It gives me no pleasure to write this analysis of a very poor performance in what is still an amateur game at this level but some hard work is needed on and off the training paddock before next week’s visit of York who moved into the top six with the 48-10 defeat of Huddersfield YMCA at Clifton Park on Saturday.