Scarborough RUFC storm to opening Shield win

Star man Phil Watson scores a try for Scarborough in their Shield win

Star man Phil Watson scores a try for Scarborough in their Shield win

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Scarborough progressed to the second round of the Yorkshire Shield with a convincing 44-7 win at Old Rishworthians’ picturesque but sparsely populated Copley Bridge HQ, running in six tries in a pretty one sided affair.

Injuries and unavailability saw the Seasiders field a side with several players out of position and late withdrawals saw others drafted in at short notice.

Fullback Graeme Jeffrey pulled out due to injury and was replaced by Tom Ratcliffe which meant a new centre pairing of Jan Tiker and Alex Renwick started. Nick Daley came in for the injured Phil Stewart at fly-half, Matt Lucas started for Matty Young and Matthew Else stepped in at number eight for Charlie Hoggard.

Playing with the benefit of a stiff breeze behind them, the visitors pressured the west Yorkshiremen from the start, Else making his presence felt immediately, fielding the kick-off and driving deep into ‘Rish’ territory. And it took only four minutes to get the scoreboard ticking as the Scarborough pack, who were to dominate all afternoon, struck against the head; the ball was moved swiftly right to left and Matt Lucas sent Renwick over near the corner flag. Ratcliffe added the extras from the touchline for a 7-0 lead. Renwick was injured in the act of scoring and was replaced by Richard Scales.

The visiting eight, with hooker Mark Hopper in fine form, were completely dominant in the tight and loose and took a stranglehold on the game as the half progressed and skipper Phil Watson was causing havoc with a series of bullocking runs which saw him barge over the gain-line at will. Scarborough doubled their lead in the 16th minute following a lineout wide on their left; clean ball was moved infield and props Tommy Goodman and Nino Cutino combined to send lock Mikey Readman over near the uprights. Ratcliffe goaled for 14-0.

Old Rishworthians had their best spell of the game mid-way through the half spending some time in the visitor’s 22, but a lack of composure with the line in sight and committed defence from the men from Silver Royd stymied any chance of the Yorkshire Two outfit getting into the game. Tom Ratcliffe took his side to a 17-0 interval lead with a penalty in the 36th minute.

Kicking off the second half into the breeze, Scarborough continued where they had left off before the break; under pressure the home side conceded a penalty and Ratcliffe stretched the lead to 20-0 in the 45th minute. And Watson, who was putting his frame to good use punching holes in the Rish defensive line got his reward five minutes later following good work by the forwards in the home 22 when he muscled over for the game’s third try. Ratcliffe converted for 27-0.

Open-side Chris Purdy also got into the act scoring a couple of tries; both coming from catch-and-drive moves at attacking line-outs.

The first wide on the Seasiders left on the hour and the second six minutes later from a lineout on the right. Tom Ratcliffe failed to convert either but the lead was stretched to 37-0. Dan Gledhill and Tom Fish replaced Goodman and Cutino in the front row.

The visitors failed to maintain their intensity and didn’t ram home their superiority in the latter stages of the game; however proceedings ended with a flourish when a scrum in the home 22 was driven toward the line before a slick blindside move sent Matt Lucas in at the corner.

The ball fell off the kicking tee as Ratcliffe went to convert, so the big fullback picked it up and converted with a drop-kick from the touchline for 44-0. The plucky home side stuck to their task and got a consolation try deep in injury time when they stretched the Scarborough defence and a long pass sent wing Anthony Shoesmith over in the left corner.

Fly-half Joe Billing converted with the final kick of the game.

It’s very early days yet but Coach Lee Douglas will have been heartened by the efforts of his re-shuffled side.

Apart from being promoted from Yorkshire Three to Two last season not a lot was know of the quality and strength of the opposition, but you can only play what is put in front of you. Apart from the late try, Old Rish just couldn’t get into the game as they were, apart from the lineout, starved of ball by the Scarborough pack.

All eight excelled with Hopper, Cutino, Watson, Purdy and Matty Else who put in some great work on the ground, providing the cutting edge. Schutz and Ratcliffe were the pick of the backs whilst Nick Daley who was drafted in at fly-half coped well. Next week skipper Watson’s men travel to relegated Keighley which I’m sure will be a completely different kettle of fish altogether from this late summer romp.

Scarborough: Ratcliffe, Baird, Tiker, Renwick, Lucas, Daley Schutz, Goodman, Hopper, Cutino, Readman, Watson, Ingham, Purdy, Else SUBS: Gledhill Fish Scales (all used) Stewart

Scarborough News Star Man: Phil Watson. Plenty of candidates for Star Man this week with Hopper, Goodman, Cutino, Purdy and Else all outstanding; however skipper Phil Watson gets the nod; not only for his work in the engine room but his use of brawn and brain as he constantly got across the gain line leading by example.