Malton & Norton 12
A Superb team performance from a Scarborough side which grafted throughout an afternoon of attritional rugby played in atrocious weather saw leaders Malton come within five minutes of losing their unbeaten league record before grabbing a late try and victory at a gale and rain lashed Silver Royd.
Playing with the driving rain behind them skipper Nick Ingham’s men had the upper hand in the early exchanges in front of a surprisingly large Silver Royd turn out given the conditions.
A series of driving mauls had the visiting eight on the back foot from the off and an infringement wide on the Scarborough right gave hooker Matty Jones his first shot at goal with a penalty in the third minute. The big Kiwi made no mistake for a 3-0 lead.
Continued pressure saw the visitors concede again two minutes later when a player failed to roll away from a tackle and Jones doubled his tally with a beautifully slotted effort from 25 metres wide on the left for 6-0.
Scarborough continued to press and looked to win every scrum, ruck, maul and loose ball most of which they did; however they lacked the penetration and creativity behind the scrum to take full advantage of their superiority in the forwards during this period. Malton under pressure, were penalized for a player playing the ball off his feet in the 15th minute.
However Jone, having his best game of the season, hit the upright with his kick which unluckily fell the wrong side of the posts.
Malton at last managed an incursion into the Scarborough half in the 21st minute following a couple of penalties conceded by the home side but poor ball retention let them down following good close quarter work by Jones, Matthew Else and Louis Karl.
Following that brief respite for the visitors the Scarborough forwards continued their war of attrition up front and when Malton infringed at a ruck 35 metres from their own line Jones had another chance to administer punishment in the 28th minute. However big man’s effort which looked good and true from the boot drifted past the upright at the death.
Scarborough continued their game plan for the conditions which was to keep the game tight and retain possession. However solid Malton defence kept them in the hunt although they found difficult to get out of their own half in the second quarter.
The visitors made a swift break in the 39th minute which took them into the home 22 for the first time; flanker Sam Triffit initially took the ball forward and the remainder of the pack piled in behind him to drive to within touching distance of the line. However ref Dave Lindsay had awarded a penalty for offside in front of the posts and winger Josh Saunders saw a gap, tapped and drove over near the posts. The usually reliable Teei Piawi missed the conversion and Scarborough deservedly led 6-5 at the break.
Harnessing the elements after the break Malton looked to play the second half in Scarborough territory, however Scarborough continued to press for most of the third quarter.
Going into the final 20 minutes the visiting pack upped their efforts and good work by prop Paul Dobson and giant number eight John Dobson saw them look the sharper unit at the breakdown.
It was also around the hour mark when the home side appeared to change their tactics and started kicking away hard earned possession particularly fly-half TH Grace who looked good with ball in hand in the first 40 minutes.
Some fancy work on his own 22 saw the young Kiwi flick a loose pass behind him and visiting scrum-half Dan Cattle just lost the race for the touchdown.
Scarborough did have the chance to clinch the game in the 69th minute when a superb drive culminated in a knock-on over the try line. Jones also had a long-distance penalty effort which just shaved the wrong side of the upright.
Going into the last 10 minutes of the game Dave Beck’s men appeared to have lost their composure with misdirected kicks putting themselves under pressure as the visitors returned them with interest. A bullocking run by Dobson through the middle, scattering bodies in his wake roused the travelling Malton supporters and the big man was only brought down by a posse of Scarborough defenders just outside their own 22.
With five minutes left on the clock another poor clearance by Grace was charged down on the home 22 and Piawi hacked on and won the race to touch down for the game’s clinching try. He converted his own effort to edge Malton ahead for the first time in the game.
Scarborough looked to run from deep in the dying seconds of the match but Malton held firm for their 17th win of the season.
It would be hard to fault either team on a day when they did extremely well to provide what turned out to be a low-scoring but exciting game of rugby. Scarborough bossed the game for an hour with a magnificent pack display.
On a forwards day the Scarborough pack took the plaudits with perhaps Matty Jones and Matthew Else having their best games of the season. For the visitors Dobson and scrum-half Cattle took the eye.
Men of the match: Matty Jones & Matt Else
Scarborough: Jeffrey, Squire, Morete, Parker, Domett, Grace, Stewart, Lowde, Jones, Taylor, Ingham (capt), Else, Purdy, Karl, Lee. Subs: Williams, Tite, Lucas (all used second half)
Malton: I Cooke, J Saunders, R Armitage, T Piawi, H Newitt, T Collard (T Gravell 50mins), P Dobson, C Muscroft, A Turnbull (T Sanders 40mins), D Foster, R Webster, S Triffitt, G Harrison (R Garland 60mins), J Dobson.