Scarborough hold on to sink Heath

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Scarborough kicked off 2014 by completing the double over Halifax-based outfit Heath in a game they controlled for over an hour before conceding a late try, setting up a nail biting finish for a disappointing Silver Royd turnout.

Honours were even in the opening exchanges in damp overcast conditions with handling made difficult by steady rain for 12 hours before the kick-off.

However Craig Farrell in the centre for Scarborough struck panic in the heart of the Heath defence with some powerful running and came close on a couple of occasions.

Scarborough pinched a couple of Heath’s early line-outs putting the visitors on the back foot but were penalized at a set scrum in the 6th minute and fly-half Ezra Hinchcliffe kicked the visitors into a 3-0 lead.

Undaunted, the Seasiders redoubled their efforts and Farrell and fellow centre Benji Cottle were proving a handful for a pedestrian visiting back line.

The pressure told after 16 minutes when another bullocking run from Farrell was stopped illegally and wing Tom Ratcliffe stroked over the kick to level the scores at 3-3.

Although struggling initially in the set scrums, the home eight settled down and with parity achieved a platform for their lively backs. A half break from fullback Graeme Jeffrey broke the line and had he seen Ratcliffe on his shoulder, a try would surely have resulted.

However the big number 15 was tackled and from the ensuing ruck the west Yorkshiremen were penalized for handling and Ratcliffe eased his side 6-3 ahead in the 17th minute with the kick.

Scarborough dominated the second quarter with debutante winger Joe Lenton, Farrell and Cottle making some incisive breaks; the visitors failed to buckle under the pressure but conceded penalties in 22nd, 30th, 31st and 34th minutes for a variety of infringements that referee Mr Smith judged a talking too to be sufficient punishment for the perpetrator. All were missed by Ratcliffe.

The closing minutes of the half saw Ratcliffe put through following a Farrell break; he was stopped short of the line only for the visiting defence to handle at the resulting ruck and the big winger kicked his side 9-3 ahead with the penalty in the second minute of first half injury time.

And the half ended with Scarborough hooker Ian Williams being yellow carded for collapsing a maul on a rare visit Heath visit to the home 22. Hinchcliffe kicked the penalty to reduce the arrears to three points in the fourth minute added on for injury.

Leading 9-6 and without the services of Farrell with a tweaked hamstring, Scarborough took charge from the re-start and a great charge by lock Matty Oxtoby took the game into Heath territory.

Good work wide on Scarborough’s right by Cottle and Jeffrey saw Joe Lenton kick a perfect grubber into the visitors’ 22 and Ratcliffe outstripped the cover to get the touch with only six second half minutes on the clock before converting for a 16-6 Scarborough lead.

In a repeat of the first half, the visitors found it difficult to get out of their own half but defended well in the face of some great stuff from Cottle, Ratcliffe, Zbynek Schutz and Lenton. And when they were driven 10 metres back at a scrum in their own 22 and once again infringed, Ratcliffe took his points tally for the game to 19 in the 64th minute.

Heath finally got their act together as the game drew to a close and having been repulsed for several minutes by stout Scarborough defence, No8 Downsborough drove over on the blindside in the 76th minute.

Hinchcliffe added the extras to reduce the arrears to six points at 19-13. Scarborough fly-half Tom Harrison was sin-binned for back-chat to the referee following the score.

Scarborough saw the game out in the Heath half and following a lineout, Schutz hoofed the ball into touch to bring proceedings to a close.

Pick of the backs were Jeffrey, Cottle and Farrell (first half) while Ryan Pickering, Tommy Goodman, Oxtoby, Blake Nightingale and Phil Watson took the plaudits up front.

However with the possession and territory they had, one try was a paltry return for their endeavours.

SCARBOROUGH: Jeffrey, Ratcliffe, Cottle, Farrell, Lenton, Harrison, Rollinson, Taylor, Williams, Pickering, Oxtoby, Ingham, Purdy, Nightingale, Hoggard. SUBSTITUTES: Watson, Goodman, Schutz (all used).