Ravaged by injury and unavailability a re-shuffled Scarborough side dug deep to overcome an early reverse and grab a bonus point win with four quality tries at Silver Royd.
Scarborough’s re-shuffled pack with back-row Taylor Smith playing at hooker and Matthew Oxtoby and Matty Else in the back row, struggled from the first scrum and were marched back on their own ball on at least three occasions.
And when Oxtoby was yellow-carded in the 12th minute, the Scarborough seven man pack was driven back and North Ribblesdale scrum-half David Fox darted over on the narrow side for a five point lead in the 15th minute.
Fly-half Steve Moon failed with his touchline conversion attempt.
Prop Jesse Macdonald went down injured and was replaced by Paul Taylor in the Seasiders’ front row. Winning a bigger portion of possession at the set pieces Scarborough began to pose a threat to the visitors and when a good Tom Harrison clearance found touch deep in the ‘Ribb’ half, the ball was moved off the top of the lineout and swept cross-field.
Full-back Corey Dennis surged through a narrow gap and released winger Matt Lucas to power over in the corner and level the scores at 5-5 in the 20th minute. Harrison failed to convert.
Once parity was obtained up-front, half-backs Harrison and Jordan Wakeham began to get their back division moving and Joe Marshall, Paul White and Tom Ratcliffe looked increasingly dangerous; and every time the elusive Corey Dennis ran at the visitors defence the alarm bells started ringing.
Despite their lively back play it was the forwards with open-side Eamon Chapman in devastating form, that produced the next Scarborough try, lock Nick Ingham driving over on the open side following an attacking line-out in the 39th minute. Harrison added the extras for a 12-5 half-time lead.
Scarborough’s half-time advantage was short lived as the Settle-based side came storming back after the break. A terrific break by open-side Nathan Dakin ripped the fragile Scarborough mid-field defence apart before he released Steve Moon, up in support, to stride in between the uprights in the 43rd minute. Moon converted his own effort to level the scores at 12-12.
With wing Jack Anderson on for Joe Marshall who played for Yorkshire Colts the following day, the crowd were treated to a period of exciting end-to-end rugby with both sides looking to move the ball at every opportunity.
Scarborough came close with Harrison, Dennis and the speedy Anderson posting their attacking intentions. Surprisingly the next score came from the boot when a deliberate knock-on by the visitors on their own 10-metre line saw Harrison land his long distance penalty to nudge the Seasiders’ 15-12 ahead on the hour.
Both sides continued to look for the knock-out punch and continued to move the ball when possible. And when ‘Ribb’ attacked through the middle, hooker Taylor Smith was sin-binned for tackling fly-half Steve Moon off the ball in the 64th minute.
Macdonald came back on as a front row replacement with Oxtoby leaving the field for the duration of Smith’s absence.
Great work on the ground by Chapman saw Scarborough secure the ball following a visiting scrum and a massive clearance kick from Harrison took play to the North Ribblesdale 22.
A knock-on by the visitors at the resulting lineout gave Scarborough an attacking scrum from which the ball was moved blind to Anderson whose blistering pace took him almost to the line and from the ensuing maul Macdonald was driven over from close range in the 69th minute for 20-12.
Harrison just pulled his touchline conversion attempt wide.
Looking to clinch the game and earn a bonus point with a fourth try, the Seasiders threw everything into the last 10 minutes of the game and great work by Harrison, Wakeham, Anderson and particularly Dennis had the tiring visiting defence stretched.
It was no surprise when following a clever Harrison grubber kick, an injection of pace by the Scarborough fullback and a combination of slick work from his midfield released Harrison to sprint over and deliver the coup de grace in the 80th minute. Harrison converted his own effort for 27-12 with last kick of the game.
It was a good result for skipper Tom Ratcliffe’s men considering they had seven enforced changes from their last league outing and managed a bonus point win.
Eamon Chapman had another outstanding game and was pick of a forward pack that were outplayed in the opening quarter but came back strongly.
In the backs Harrison, Wakeham, Ratcliffe and Dennis excelled and Jack Anderson had an impressive debut.