Visitors Scarborough always had the edge in a feisty Yorkshire One clash at Bridlington, and a gritty back-row performance augmented by a couple of cracking Tom Ratcliffe tries either side of the break blunted the challenge of a hard-working but limited home side, the away team winning 24-16.
Following a poor performance with the boot last week, an early penalty miss in the 11th minute from fly-half Tom Chadwick put some doubt in the minds of the travelling Scarborough faithful: however the visitors monopolized possession and the dominance of loose forwards Eamon Chadwick, Hayden Ogilvie and Matty Else gave halfbacks Jordi Wakeham and Chadwick space to get their backline moving.
Bridlington defended well but under pressure conceded penalties which Chadwick duly dispatched in the 15th and 19th minutes for a 6-0 lead.
Scarborough looked to move the ball wide as the game went into its second quarter and Harry Domett and Joe Marshall gave their opposite numbers Mellonby and Davies a torrid time.
However the Bridlington wide-men stuck to their task and the visitors only reward was a further Tom Chadwick penalty for 9-0 in the 28th minute when Marshall, with a full head of steam, was tripped and the culprit was sin-binned.
Not for the first time this season, the Seasiders’ concentration dropped and playing against 14 men they appeared to take a mid-match siesta. Chadwick somewhat telegraphed a clearance in his own 22 which was charged down and Bridlington scrum-half Ollie Stephenson pounced to cross from short range in the 29th winger. Wing Steve Mellonby missed the conversion.
A switch cutting off Scarborough’s urgency supply seemed to have been thrown and when a penalty took the home side into the visitors’ 22,
Stephenson powered over on the blind side for his second try to nudge his side 10-9 ahead in the 35th minute. Mellonby missed the conversion but made amends five minutes later when he stroked over a penalty to stretch the Bridlington lead to 13-9.
This came as a wake-up call to end the Seasiders’ siesta and when wingman Joe Marshall fielded a poor clearance on halfway, his muscular run scorched the right touchline and skipper Tom Ratcliffe, up in support, powered over to snatch the lead back at 14-13 in the ninth minute of time added on at the end of the first half. Chadwick just failed to add the extras with a well-struck touchline conversion attempt.
Scarborough settled to their task after the break and some great work from centre Billy Parker in attack and defence and the powerful linking between back-rowers Chapman and Ogilvie and their midfield stifled much of Bridlington’s offensive intention.
And a dominant line-out and solid scrum starved the home side of clean ball. However, in general defences held sway and it never look as if either side would run away with the game.
A lot of the game was played in the middle of the paddock but both sides managed to get the ball wide on occasions where Davies was a threat for Bridlington; a great run by the left wing which left a couple of visiting players in his wake was only halted by a crunching cover-tackle by fullback Tom Harrison in the 55th minute.
However when a Bridlington player spilled the ball just inside the Scarborough half, Ratcliffe pounced on it and raced away to score under the posts. Chadwick added the extras for 21-13 in the 58th minute.
As they saw the game slip away from them going into the final quarter Bridlington looked to take the game to Scarborough with ball in hand but they found the attentions of Parker, Chapman, Ogilvie and Parker too close for comfort and could make little progress at the breakdown.
The men from Duke’s Park were thrown a lifeline when Scarborough failed to clear their lines in the 64th minute, infringed and conceded a penalty in front of their posts; Mellonby made no mistake with the kick and Brid trailed by five points at 21-16.
With a lead of only five points Scarborough continued to press and Domett, Corey Dennis (on for Marshall), Parker and Harrison went close and when Bridlington infringed under pressure just outside their 22, Chadwick kicked the penalty to stretch the lead to 24-16 in the 68th minute.
Leading by more than one score Scarborough kept possession and wound the clock down effectively closing the game out and skipper Ratcliffe finished the game hoofing the ball off the paddock following a penalty at the death.
Apart from a 10-minute period before half-time, this would have been a very satisfying win for Lee Douglas.
A terrific pack performance, a breakaway unit that won the battle of the back rows and another effective performance from the talented backs augers well for the months to come but they’ve still got to play for the full 80 minutes.