Scarborough RUFC dig deep for draw at muddy Wath

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Scarborough travelled to Wath looking for a fifth consecutive win against a side with only a couple of wins on home soil in the last two months, but a 14-man visiting side had to fight back for a 10-10 draw in very muddy conditions.

The visitors conceded a couple of first quarter tries and had a man sent off early in the second half but battled back to snatch a draw late in the game.

Playing on a heavy surface Scarborough had the upper hand in the early forward exchanges but the south Yorkshiremen were buzzing with halfbacks Joe Bartlett and Anthony Barratt in lively form.

However it was from a catch-and-drive that the home side took the lead in the 11th minute; second row Richard Hill taking the catch at a five metre line-out and number eight Matthew Burrows driving over for a 5-0 lead. Centre Ed Melmoth failed to add the extras.

Scarborough looked to come straight back but trying to run from deep in the conditions was an exhausting tactic as they tended to get mired in the mid-field mud and were being outplayed at the breakdown where their ball-retention left much to be desired.

Wath doubled their advantage in the 20th minute when they took a strike against the head at a scrum on the Scarborough 22, the ball was swiftly moved left and wing Ben Cairns scampered off to score in the corner. Melmoth missed the kick.

Scarborough pressed throughout the second quarter with back-rowers Eamon Chapman, Matty Else and Taylor Smith putting in the hard yards.

However four turnovers and two missed kicks at goal failed to advance the Seasiders’ cause. To be fair on kicker Tom Harrison it just wasn’t a day for place kicking.

The second half started poorly for the visitors when Taylor Smith was rightly dismissed for punching a player on the ground in the 42nd minute.

It looked as if the big Kiwi was aggrieved at being held down by the player he punched but his response was entirely disproportionate.

However the pendulum of fortune swung the other way five minutes later when Wath substitute Ben Myers was sin-binned.

That sending-off was the turning point of the game and the Scarborough pack then took control and produced the sort of cohesion they have shown in the last month.

The Wath eight wilted and the visiting tight five began to dominate with second row Nick Ingham leading the way.

In front of him the front row of Paul Taylor, Ian Williams and Mark Hopper rediscovered their mojo and it was no surprise when following a period of pressure on the home line Taylor drove over from short range in the 47th minute.

Skipper Tom Ratcliffe failed to convert.

Trailing by five points 14-man Scarborough continued to press mainly through the forwards with the attacking efforts of their back division for most of the time being thwarted by the conditions, although centre Graeme Jeffrey, Harrison and full-back Corey Dennis did have their moments.

Going into to the closing stages of the game, the Seasiders set up a series of driving mauls up their right flank and it was all hands to the pumps for the Wath defence.

However Scarborough got the reward for their pressure when Harrison darted over on the narrow side from a ruck in the 72nd minute to tie the scores at 10-10. Ratcliffe hit the upright with his conversion attempt which could have clinched the game.

Scarborough edged the final minutes but just could get the score which would have won them the game.

Wath’s discipline went completely with three players sin-binned in the final quarter of the game.

By their standards lately this was an under par performance from Scarborough and the fact that they conceded from two set pieces and failed to adapt to the conditions will have disappointed coach Lee Douglas.

However following an error-strewn first half their second half performance was a huge improvement and with a modicum of luck in the kicking department they would have won the game.

Taylor Smith’s sending-off may have sparked a revival but he must know how seriously he let his teammates down not just in the game but in the games he will miss.