Almost five hundred spectators at a cold but sunny Silver Royd were treated to a try-fest by two teams determined to run the ball at every opportunity producing a game which was a cracking advert for Yorkshire One rugby.
An injury-hit home side with eight positional and personnel changes from last week kicked off in bright sunshine and went ahead with less than a minute on the clock; Tom Ratcliffe broke from the Pontefract 10-metre line, chipped into the corner and outpaced the turning ‘Ponte’ defence to touchdown.
Fly-half Tom Harrison added the extras with his unerring touchline conversion for 7-0.
A reshuffled pack with Jason Lowde starting at prop and a completely new second row pairing of Mikey Readman and Charlie Hoggard looked solid and from a scrum in the sixth minute flanker Luke Raines broke blind releasing wing Graeme Jeffrey who powered over wide on the right. Harrison just pulled his conversion.
Trailing 12-0 the visitors took the game to Scarborough who defended well with back-rowers Raines, under-19 skipper Sam Warren and veteran No8 Matthew Else putting in some big hits but when the west Yorkshiremen won a line-out five metres out, lock Carl Smith barged over from close range to reduce the arrears in the 11th minute.
And two minutes later when the home side were caught offside in front of their own posts, fullback Paul Novak kicked the resulting penalty to cut the deficit to four points.
The Seasiders then had some defending to do as Pontefract got their game going and only good work in midfield by Harrison, scrum-half Jake Rollinson and Jeffrey coming off his wing kept them at bay.
However, during this period Scarborough always looked dangerous on the break.
Pontefract got their just rewards with a well taken close range try from flanker Andy Townsend in the 27th minute, Novak converting to take his side into the lead at 15-12 for the first time in the game.
Neither side could add to their score and half-time came with Scarborough three points adrift.
Scarborough upped the pace from the restart and following good work by Harrison, Rollinson and Raines, Pontefract prop Richard Maw killed the ball on his on 22 and Harrison kicked the penalty to tie the scores in the 45th minute.
Dave Beck’s men continued to raise the tempo and when Sam Warren who was having an outstanding game in the back row, won a ball which had been lost at the base of a scrum, he released Jeffrey who scampered away on a 50-metre run that ended with a lovely pass to centre Craig Farrell who finished in style in the 51st minute. Harrison goaled for 22-15.
Ratcliffe could have sewn the whole thing up two minutes later when he went for one of his trademark interceptions on halfway but this time the club’s most prolific try scorer couldn’t hold on to the ball and the chance went begging.
Scarborough dominated the final quarter with only good defence from the visitors and their own over eagerness preventing them adding to the scoreline.
A superb break by young winger Corey Dennis looked to have sent Jeffrey over with an inside pass in the 69th minute but a great tackle by Novak saved a certain try.
However the biggest cheer of the afternoon came two minutes later when Dennis swooped on a fumble by ex-England man Derek Eaves, outstripped the visiting defence to score his first try for the club. Harrison converted for 29-15.
Pontefract blind-side Kalem Senior put the cat among the pigeons with a late close-range try converted by Novak in the 78th minute
With the visitors pressing for an equalising score in injury-time, try-magnet Ratcliffe pounced on a loose ball in his own 22; hacked on, secured the ball and outsprinted a posse of chasers to score under the posts from 70 metres out.
Harrison added his fourth conversion for 36-22 with the last kick off the match.
This rollercoaster of a game just couldn’t have happened had it not been for a very positive attitude from both sides.
Scarborough’s success was based on a really solid pack performance with props Jason Lowde and Tom Fish in great form. Hooker Ian Williams had his best game for quite some time both in the set pieces and a hard-tackling performance in the loose.
Skipper Nick Ingham. who missed the game for family reasons, will find it hard to shift Readman and Hoggard from the engine room when he returns.
Man-of-the-match Raines was pick of the back row although Sam Warren also excelled.
Five tries from the threequarters point to great work behind the scrum and the Seasiders looked as if they could score from anywhere.
Finally great work by Harrison and Rollinson rounded of an enthusiastic and dynamic performance.