Scarborough’s inconsistency this season continued with this lack-lustre performance at Clifton Park where having conceded a first-minute try then led at the break, they conceded three second half tries to slide to a 27-13 defeat against York.
The visitors were disrupted before a ball was kicked when they lost the services of wing Corey Dennis, hooker Luke Raines and Tom Harrison who failed a late fitness tests. Matt Lucas, Ian Williams and Sam Warren deputised.
Scarborough made a hash of York’s kick-off and were immediately in trouble as the Minstermen secured possession and moved the ball cross-field; a series of rucks on the visitors line proved fruitful and fullback Alex Dixon dived in wide on the right to open the scoring with only 80 seconds on the clock. Scrum-half Sam Hargreaves failed to convert.
A shocked Scarborough side came straight back and a series of lineouts in the home 22 should have produced more. The game at this stage was played out in midfield with both defences in charge with prop Nino Cutino and flankers Chris Purdy and Sinako Dunywa excelling for the visitors.
However Scarborough got onto the front foot when Tom Ratcliffe gathered his own beautifully judged chip through and outsprinted the York defence to score between the uprights in the 15th minute. The big centre added the extras for a 7-5 lead.
A minute later centre Alex Renwick intercepted a loose pass in mid-field and sprinted off for the York line for what looked like a certain Scarborough try. However the youngster appeared to run out of steam with the line in sight and managed to miss his support and the chance had gone. However when Ratcliffe was injured in the action leading up to a York infringement, fly-half Phil Stewart kicked the penalty in the 18th minute for 10-5.
The second quarter of the game saw much of the action in the visitors’ half with scrum-half Hargreaves and wing Billy Cakaunitabua getting in the mix; however the Scarborough defence was up to the job and when Ratcliffe kicked a penalty in the 40th minute it looked as if the visitors would go the break with a handy 13-5 lead.
York drove afield in time added on for injury at the end of the half and centre Sam Potrykus drove through some indifferent defence to reduce the arrears to three points at the break.
With their back division reshuffled after the interval when fullback Graeme Jeffrey left the field injured, Scarborough took the game to York but couldn’t find the penetration that would bring them a second try. And when they lost possession metres from the home line Cakaunitabua slipped a couple of tackles and set off on a jinking run that saw him thread through almost the entire Scarborough side before releasing wing Gareth Singleton who scampered over in the 52nd minute. Hargreaves missed the conversion but York edged 15-13 ahead.
Scarborough’s poor work at the re-start saw York regain possession and they spent the next five minutes deep in the visitor’s 22 before prop Dan Hepworth crashed over for 20-13 in the 57th minutes. Once again the Minster-men failed to convert.
The Seasiders lost the services of Chris Purdy on the hour when he was sin-binned for failing to roll away after a tackle and their 14 men struggled in the fourth quarter particularly their inexperienced back three. However heads never went down and a bullocking run by No8 Phil Austen took them deep into home territory; however they failed to retain possession and when the ball was moved to halfway, some indifferent tackling saw York flanker Joe Maud power up the right flank, cut in and score between the posts in the 67th minute. Hargreaves converted for 27-13.
Scarborough’s Nino Cutino was then sin-binned for taking his frustration out on an advertising hoarding behind the goal and the visitors played all but the last two minutes of the game with 14 men.
That York deserved their five try to one victory there is no doubt but it has to be said that Scarborough were disrupted by late personnel changes and injury.
The York pack had the upper hand in the tight and for much of the time in the loose; however Scarborough’s work at the breakdown was frustrated by some strange decisions by the ex-rugby league referee. Pick of the forwards were Cutino and Dunywa whilst behind them hard-working Zbynek Schutz and Ratcliffe took the plaudits. However they were second best on the day and will look to put this result, which saw them slip two places in the league, behind them.