Scarborough head to Pontefract for league finale

Tom Ratcliffe in action at Pontefract
Tom Ratcliffe in action at Pontefract
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Scarborough RUFC finish their Yorkshire One campaign with a re-arranged fixture at Pontefract on Saturday afternoon.

With nothing riding on the game, I was more than surprised that this game is going ahead.

The west Yorkshiremen were, as far as I could see already relegated from Yorkshire One in second-bottom place, nine points adrift of Heath RFC in third-from-bottom spot.

However, rumour now has it that Heath may be deducted points for some infringement of Northern RFU rules and there is a possible escape route for Pontefract, so the only outstanding Yorkshire One fixture must be played.

Although many of the Scarborough players could have had made long-term holiday arrangements this weekend, in fact only one player, Graeme Jeffrey is unavailable, however Eamon Chapman, Mark Hopper and Harry Domett miss the game through injury.

The Seasiders retain the same back division as last week, except Billy Parker replaces Jeffrey and Joe Marshall moves back to the wing.

Up front Paul Taylor, Ian Williams and Wesley Langkilde make up the front row with James Leach in the engine room.

Nick Ingham plays number eight with Taylor Smith and Hayden Ogilvie making up the breakaway unit. Jesse Macdonald, Phil Stewart and Martin Robinson are on the bench.

The abandoned game a few weeks ago was stopped after 30 minutes with Scarborough 10-7 ahead.

However, back in the November game, coach Lee Douglas’ men had too much fire-power when Pontefract visited Silver Royd, running in five tries in a 34-5 win.

Skipper Tom Ratcliffe (2), Chapman, Graeme Jeffrey and Mikey Readman bagged the touchdowns with Tom Harrison kicking nine points.

With key players missing it will be a tricky afternoon for Ratcliffe’s men but he’ll be buoyed by the return of the experienced Parker at centre and a start for talismanic prop Taylor.

If they fail to beat the drop, Pontefract will be relegated to Yorkshire Two for the first time in their 125-year history.

Strictly speaking of course, the league system for rugby union goes back only 28 years to its inaugural season in 1987.

Pontefract started in North East Two, gained promotion to North East One, were relegated back to North East Two in 1988/89 and were further relegated to Yorkshire One in 2000/01 after 11 years.

They have struggled over the last few seasons and so far this campaign have won only five games, three early-season victories against Yarnbury in September, Hullensians in October and Old Brodleians in mid-November were followed by the 27-26 defeat of York on January 3 following a four-month drought.

Last week they relegated fellow strugglers Wath-upon-Dearne, beating them 44-17 at their Moor Lane HQ.