Guisborough 12 Scarborough 48
Scarborough travelled to Belmangate to take on Guisborough who regained their Durham/Northumberland One status last season on the back of consecutive promotions from Durham/Northumberland Three to the Geordie top flight.
Both sides named big squads for this first competitive game since April and the Seasiders included new singings Tom Harrison and Nino Cutino in their line-up.
Scarborough dominated the opening exchanges and laid siege to the home line with a combination of fast rucking and good support play with fly-half Harrison making an early impression with some monster line kicks from good possession from the forwards.
With Harrison, Craig Farrell and Paul White in the mid-field the pressure was on the home centre pairing of Paul Towers and Paul Leggot and when a floated pass from Towers in mid-field went astray White pounced to intercept and galloped in under the posts for the opening score in the 11th minute. Harrison added the extras for 7-0.
Guisborough looked as if they may be swamped for a period after that score by some powerful running from deep by Harrison, scrum-half Nick Daley and fullback Graeme Jeffrey but good work by fly-half Paul Devonport and flankers Neil Young and Mike Suthers kept them in the game.
However, when the visitors took a quick tap at a penalty in the 20th minute, the ball was moved blind and Jeffrey powered down the left touchline to score in the corner. Harrison just pulled the touchline conversion across the posts and Scarborough led 12-0.
Guisborough rallied in the second quarter and forward pressure saw them batter away at the Scarborough line for a prolonged period.
The Seasiders defended well but ran out of numbers in the 26th minute when No8 Nick Pope crashed over to open the home account.
Fly-half Devonport stroked the conversion over to reduce the arrears to five points. Scarborough redoubled their efforts with Harrison who was having an outstanding game running the game from fly-half and when a couple of attacking scrums brought no reward the ball went back to Harrison in the pocket for the sweetest of drop-goals for 15-7 on the half-hour.
Guisborough piled on the pressure as the half approached but solid Scarborough defence with the fast-improving Paul White, Farrell and loose forward Luke Raines to the fore saw them take their eight point advantage to the break.
The Clevelanders continued to press after the break and when the visitors conceded in their own half, a penalty and line-out saw them pressing on the Scarborough line once more; this time with more success, hooker James O’Brien powered over wide on the right in the 47th minute.
Devonport’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful but his side trailed by only three points.
The stage seemed set for a titanic struggle but O’Brien’s try was the last time a home player bothered the scorer.
Scarborough moved up a gear and with Harrison orchestrating, they ran in some thrilling tries as Guisborough’s pre and post interval efforts seem to have taken their toll.
Scrum-half Nick Daley crossed in the 55th minute following great work by the midfield with Harrison converting for 22-12 and two minutes later the Seasiders fly-half set off at electric pace from deep in his own 22 to outstrip three home defenders before combining with Cutino to release skipper Nick Ingham who went in between the uprights. Harrison converted for 29-12.
And Rob Hazledine who swapped places with Jeffrey to play the second half at fullback finished off another Harrison move from deep which saw Jeffrey deliver the final pass for a textbook try.
Harrison kicked the conversion for 36-12 on the hour.
And the men from Silver Royd dominated the closing exchanges running in a couple of tries in the last five minutes of play; hooker Ian Williams crossing wide on the left in the 75th minute to round off a sweeping move and left wing Nick Burgess bustling over a minute from the end near the corner flag on Scarborough’s left.
Harrison goaled the Williams effort with an inch-perfect touchline kick but failed to convert Burgess’ effort in injury-time.
With a mixture of youth, experience and newcomers moving up from junior sides and other clubs the squad managed surprisingly well to gel as the game went on and the side dominated in the closing exchanges.
Tom Harrison is going to be a big hit at Silver Royd as he combines real pace and decisiveness with a powerful kicking game.
Paul White had another influential afternoon as did Craig Farrell and young scrum-half Nick Daley. Ex-Malton and Army forward Luke Raines made his presence felt as did newcomer Nino Cutino while veterans Tom Fish, Wayne Adams steadied the ship when the going got tough.
Graeme Jeffrey continued where he left off last season running at defences and maintains his hunger for tries.
Scarborough: Jeffrey, Mabbott, White, Farrell, Harrison, Fish, Hazeldine, Cutino, Daley, Goode, Tite, Warren, Readman, Adams, Ingham, Ljazouli, Williams, Raines, Day, Burgess, Taylor.