Scarborough maintain superb start with Dinnington success

Scarborough's Benji Cottle crosses the try-line. Pictures by Dave Kettlewell
Scarborough's Benji Cottle crosses the try-line. Pictures by Dave Kettlewell
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Not for the first time this season Scarborough went off like a train dominating the set pieces and scoring early tries playing great rugby.

Slick handing and continuity thrilled the Silver Royd faithful as they looked as if they would blow away in-form Dinnington in the opening 15 minutes of the game. Then they went walkabout, lost their shape and seemingly their confidence.

However their performance was a committed one and they are the only unbeaten side in the league and are in second place behind new boys Doncaster Phoenix.

Scarborough made a hash of the Dinnington kick-off and the visitors spent the early minutes in home territory; however this was short lived and a massive clearance by fly-half Tom Harrison with a brisk northeasterly at his back, took play into the Dinnington half.

With full-back Jeffrey, centres Benji Cottle and Rich Holmes, and ebullient prop Nino Cutino firing on all cylinders the south Yorkshiremen conceded a string of penalties in their own 22.

And having lost a player for persistent infringement, they drifted offside and winger Tom Ratcliffe kicked Scarborough 3-0 ahead with a penalty in the eighth minute.

Dinnington equalized almost from the re-start when Scarborough were penalized for ‘crossing’ and fly-half Jonny West slotted the simple kick for 3-3 in the 10th minute. The Seasiders came straight back and scored a superb try a minute later when, following great work at the breakdown flanker Blake Nightingale brushed aside the attentions of a string of would-be tacklers to power over from 20 meters.

Ratcliffe was unsuccessful with the conversion.

Coach Lee Douglas’ charges continued to turn the screw and incisive running by Cottle, Harrison and Jeffrey joining the line, were testing the resolve of the visiting defence.

And when Cottle broke infield from second phase possession, the young Kiwi centre went on one of his trademark jinking runs to touchdown in the 14th minute; Ratcliffe added the extras for a 15-3 lead.

The men from Silver Royd continued to turn the screw but Dinnington redoubled their defensive efforts and gradually mounted their own offensive. However the home defence was very much up for the challenge and great work by the back row of Chris Purdy, Nightingale and the magnificent Matthew Else augmented by a re-energized Charlie Hoggard, Mikey Readman and Cutino, kept their line intact when it looked as if they may be overwhelmed.

However West reduced the arrears to nine points with a penalty in the 37th minute and Scarborough led 15-6 at the break.

Kicking off the second half, Scarborough looked to play in the opposition half but pressure in the set scrums at their own put-in with the visiting eight driving them back saw stability at the base severely compromised with Else struggling to pick up or control and drafted-in scrum half Jake Rollinson struggling for control when he got possession.

Subsequently play from first phase was not happening and the dangerous Scarborough threequarters just couldn’t get into the game.

At one stage hooker Ian Williams went off and Cutino played at number two; however the timing between scrum-half and hooker had gone and Scarborough were neither hooking nor looking to drive over.

The line-outs were also a lottery and it appeared that the home eight had gone from complete supremacy at the set piece in the opening quarter of the game to struggling for scraps in loose play which to be fair they made a very good fist of with Hoggard and Else outstanding.

However with their confidence appearing to have deserted them, ball retention also suffered. And yet they still contrived to mount some dangerous attacking play through Ratcliffe, Cottle, Jeffrey and the admirable Matty Young.

And they should have had a try on the hour when Cottle was held back off the ball with the line at his mercy with a myopic Mr Hall looking haplessly on.

And when Scarborough conceded their first league try at Silver Royd this season, it came from a poorly executed scrum on halfway. There was no strike for Rollinson’s put-in and having gained possession the visitors drove up their left flank.

The home defence held firm but ran out of numbers eventually and Dinnington man-of-the-match number eight Danny Pilkington drove over in the 66th minute. West missed the conversion and the Scarborough lead was cut to four points at 15-11.

With Williams back in the middle of the front row Scarborough appeared to have a more stable platform and played out the remainder of the game in surprising comfort.

They could have scored a late try of their own when Jeffrey fielded a huge clearance out of defence by West and surged deep into Dinnington territory; the support on his shoulder looped inside, the pass went wide and the chance was gone but it was a great way to end the game; on the front foot.

SCARBOROUGH: Jeffrey Young Cottle Holmes Ratcliffe Harrison Rollinson Cutino Williams Goodman Readman Hoggard Purdy Nightingale Else SUBSTITUTES: Pickering Sutton Baird

DINNINGTON: Williams Longstaffe Pietersen Stimpson Leivers West A. Donnelly Marshall Starr Bunting Igoe Scott Rodgers R. Donnelly Pilkington SUBSTITUTES: Briggs Reid Hartley