In-form Scarborough ease to Pontefract victory

Scarborough's Corey Dennis on the charge. Picture: Andy Standing
Scarborough's Corey Dennis on the charge. Picture: Andy Standing
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Resurgent Scarborough bossed a hard-fought affair at Silver Royd running in five tries for a bonus point and moved up to fifth in Yorkshire One.

However their afternoon was ruined when man-of-the-match Eamon Chapman was controversially sent off by referee Tom Doig in injury time.

Honours were pretty even in the early exchanges with perhaps the visitors just edging it; however they flattered to deceive and their early efforts were thwarted by some terrific tackling from full-back Corey Dennis and flanker Eamon Chapman.

And Chapman was in involved in the opening score of the game when he fielded a huge up-and-under by visiting full-back Craig Fawcett and moved the ball infield for centre Tom Ratcliffe to Scythe through the Pontefract defence to cross and go between the posts.

Fly-half Tom Harrison, who had earlier missed a long distance penalty, added the extras for a 7-0 Scarborough lead in the 15th minute.

Scarborough continued to press with Chapman, hooker Ian Williams and flanker Taylor Smith working hard at the breakdown and putting in some big hits in the midfield.

A dangerous tackle by Chapman in the 22nd minute incurred the wrath of the visiting side and a retaliatory flurry of punches followed. When order was restored, the resulting penalty and line-out took the visitors into the home 22 where Scarborough infringed.

Pontefract elected for a scrum but were penalized five metres out and Harrison cleared to halfway with the kick.

And Harrison, who was having an industrious afternoon, was involved in the next score when it came in the 26th minute; his towering penalty from the Pontefract 10-metre line came off the upright but was knocked on by a defender.

Clean ball from the resulting scrum found Ratcliffe infield and Chapman on his shoulder thundered over from the big centre’s inside pass. Harrison converted for 14-0.

The half continued with the Seasiders continuing to press with confidence and control and Harrison pinning the west Yorkshiremen back with some superb line kicking.

The Scarborough finishing left much to be desired and had they managed to assuage their ‘white line fever’ they could have been out of sight by half-time.

There was no lack of excitement however, and the half finished with a Harrison chip and chase which saw a Pontefract defender win the race and skipper Ratcliffe’s men go to the break 14-0 to the good.

Pontefract attacked from the re-start and camped in Scarborough territory for around seven minutes but powerful work by prop Jesse Macdonald, Williams, second row Nick Ingham and the loose forwards kept the danger at a distance and Harrison cleared downfield to lift the siege.

Scarborough Scrum-half Jordan Wakeham had to the leave the field following a cowardly punch inflicted upon the youngster when he was on the ground.

This incident was completely missed by Mr Doig and Phil Stewart came on for the 17-year-old.

With redoubtable veteran prop Tom Fish on for the injured Paul Taylor, Scarborough continued to press through the forwards; bullocking runs by Chapman and Macdonald rattled the visiting defence and when Chapman was halted illegally, Harrison stretched the home lead to 17-0 with the penalty in the 59th minute.

And a howitzer-like line kick from the Scarborough number 10 took play deep into the Pontefract 22 minutes later and there they stayed with a series of scrums on the visitors’ line.

The Ponte eight withstood everything that was thrown at them but when a stray pass was pounced on by Ratcliffe, the Scarborough skipper powered over for his second try of the game in the 68th minute.

Harrison failed to convert but the Seasiders led 22-0.

Scarborough finished the game in style when centre Graeme Jeffrey, whose penetrative running had delighted the big turnout all afternoon, latched onto a misdirected Ponte pass and galloped in from 35 metres to score in the 71st minute for 27-0. Harrison missed the wide conversion.

And coach Lee Douglas’ men finished their scoring in dominant style, driving the visiting eight back at a series of scrums before substitute Mikey Readman dived in to score with two minutes to go. Harrison converted for 34-0.

Unfortunately, the game ended in controversy when referee Doig spotted Chapman, one man off a ruck, allegedly kneeing a visiting player in the head and dismissed him from the field. Pontefract fullback Craig Fawcett took advantage of shock in the home ranks by waltzing over between the posts to score for 34-5.

The visitors managed to butcher their conversion attempt and Mr Doig blew for time.

A controlled and structured performance saw a confident Scarborough record a third victory in a row. The forwards, with Chapman and Smith outstanding, performed cohesively providing a platform for their back division where Harrison, Dennis, Ratcliffe and Jeffrey shone.

However the ball wasn’t moved wide to the wings nearly often enough and Yorkshire under-18s winger Joe Marshall on the right and Matthew Lucas on the left rarely featured in attack.

It was, apart from the sending-off, an excellent performance from the men from Silver Royd.