Scarborough power to victory at Heath

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High-flying Scarborough maintained their unbeaten start to their campaign with a convincing 18-11 win at Halifax-based outfit Heath RFC to remain third in what looks like being a highly-competitive Yorkshire One league this season.

Heath kicked off down the slight slope but having gained possession Scarborough drove into home territory where slick handling down the left flank between winger Tom Ratcliffe and centre Benji Cottle saw the former beat two men and surge over in the corner with only two minutes on the clock.

Ratcliffe converted his own effort from the touchline for 7-0.

The visitors stole the re-start but surrendered possession and Heath drove to the line; great defence repealed two charges that were halted short before Mr Hayne penalised the Seasiders for offside and flyhalf Ezra Hinchliffe slotted the kick to reduce the arrears to four points in the fifth minute.

Scarborough looked to strike back immediately and a great break by Cottle saw the young Kiwi chip through for fullback Graeme Jeffrey, up in support, but an awkward bounce and a knock on saw the chance go begging.

Up front the visiting eight had the upper hand in the early stages and twice the home pack were pushed off their own ball. Hooker Mark Hopper who has made an impressive start to his senior career was in top form in tight and loose while scrum-half Zbynek Schutz was really buzzing.

However, after a positive start skipper Phil Watson’s men found themselves behind in the 13th minute when a poorly-judged kick my fly-half Tom Harrison was charged down and the ball was moved wide for Heath left wing Mick Gleeson to gallop off and touchdown to nudge his side 8-7 ahead. Hinchliffe failed to convert.

Undeterred, the Seasiders came straight back bristling with positive intent and good work by wing Matty Young and Jeffrey took play deep into the Heath half; however a loose pass from Harrison was intercepted by flanker Hamish Pratt for the home side and only good cover defence prevented a second Heath try.

That scare was short-lived, and when Cottle made a searing break from inside his own half deep into home territory, Ratcliffe was on hand to power over wide on the left in the 18th minute for 12-8. The big wingman was unsuccessful with his difficult touchline conversion attempt

Scarborough bossed the third quarter with great work from Schutz, Jeffrey, Young, Ratcliffe and both centres in a lively back division whilst up front Hopper, Watson and open side Blake Nightingale were the pick of a cohesive pack.

Coach Lee Douglas’ charges spent much of the second quarter deep in Heath territory but a combination of good physical defence and perhaps too much lateral movement by the visitors saw no further tries in the half. However penalties from Ratcliffe in the 31st and 37th minutes saw them deservedly lead 18-8 at the break.

Having probably had the hair-drier treatment at half-time, Heath came out with all guns blazing after the break; however although they were more physical the only way they looked likely to score would have been from a Scarborough mistake and those were few and far between.

However, when Scarborough were penalised for not releasing just inside their own half in the middle of the paddock, Hinchliffe’s howitzer boot was deadly accurate and the lead was reduced to seven points in the 45th minute.

Scarborough continued to get over the gain-line with Watson, Hopper, Chris Purdy, Nightingale, Schutz and Cottle making inroads and Jeffrey running from deep. But a tendency toward lateral movement saw the wide players squeezed for space and coupled with some great defensive work by Heath, particularly from flanker Ian Downsborough, the home line remained intact.

Incisive running by Cottle, Schutz and Jeffrey and some bullocking stuff by Hopper and Watson seemed sure to bring a try in the closing stages but the home defence was magnificent.

Rolling substitutes Jason Lowde, Matty Else and Rich Holmes also had a big hand in the action.

The visitors had an injury-time scare when a loose pass saw Heath winger Rob Thackeray break the siege and scamper up the right but the danger was snuffed out and Mr Hayne called an end to proceedings.

SCARBOROUGH: Jeffrey, Young, Cottle, Tieber, Ratcliffe, Harrison, Schutz, Cutino, Hopper, Taylor, Watson (capt), Readman, Purdy, Nightingale, Gray. SUBSTITUTES: Else, Lowde, Holmes (all used).

HEATH: Hallett, Thackeray, Lister, Miller, Gleeson, Hinchliffe, Walsh, Johnson, Puttick, Moore, Neilly Hunter, Pratt, Downsborough, Hare. SUBSTITUTES: Brobbey, Lammas, Mckenzie.