Resurgent Scarborough continued where they left off at Wath the previous week playing open, attractive rugby in a five-try victory over visitors York at Silver Royd, triumphing 36-14.
Both sides showed their willingness to run the ball in the early exchanges with York attacking down their left flank with a slick threequarters move; however when centre Ernie Bradshaw fired his final miss-pass into touch, the chance had gone.
And in an almost carbon copy of a length-of-the-field try scored against Wath, full-back Tom Harrison made a break from deep in the ninth minute, the ball was taken on by Benji Cottle, who released Joe Marshall to sprint into the York half. The young wing was tackled but Scarborough camped deep in York territory.
And following a York scrum in their own 22, flanker Blake Nightingale charged down a clearance from fly-half J Kirker and scored in the corner in the 11th minute. Harrison missed the difficult touchline conversion but made no mistake with a penalty five minutes later for an 8-0 lead.
Scarborough continued to buzz and when a Harrison clearance found touch in the visitors’ 22; a fumble resulted in a home scrum. When the scrum wheeled, ever-alert scrum-half Zybnec Schutz picked up and darted over in the 22nd minute. Harrison added the extras for 15-0
Orchestrated by half-backs Phil Stewart and Schutz with Harrison coming into the line at pace it seemed certain more tries would come; wings Marshall and Graeme Jeffrey came close with centres Cottle and Jan Teiber augmenting their efforts. In front of them a cohesive pack saw Nightingale and Matty Oxtoby working well with Matty Else in the back row behind a hard working front five.
However the Minster-men held firm and Scarborough led 15-0 at the break.
The south-westerly wind which had been to Scarborough’s advantage in the first 40 minutes freshened after the break and York full-back John Dawes took advantage to give his side some good field position. And from a penalty when Scarborough infringed five metres out.
No 8 Willem Enslin barged over from short range in the 45th minute. Dawes kicked the conversion to cut the deficit to eight points at 15-7.
With their backs to the wall in the third quarter the Seasiders responded well with some great defence with Oxtoby, Charlie Hoggard, Nightingale and Else to the fore. Harrison, who was running the show, saved a certain try in the 55th minute with a crunching tackle which galvanised to his teammates.
Going into the final 20 minutes it seemed as if the next side to score would go on to win the game and that’s how it panned out. Some great handling in the visitors’ 22 saw Cottle put Harry Domett (on for Marshall) in at the corner before the Kiwi flyer was felled by a high tackle from Dawes who was sin-binned on the hour.
Both sides made a hash of the resulting five metre line-out but prop Nino Cutino dived onto a loose ball to score in the 61st minute. Harrison added the extras for a 22-7 lead. And that score appeared to open the floodgates with Harrison gliding onto a Cottle pass before cantering over in 66th minute and converting for a 29-7 Scarborough lead.
Scarborough went close on several occasions in the absence of Dawes but it was the visitors next on the scoresheet when, following a series of bullocking runs No8 Enslin drove off the back of a five metre scrum to cross in the 74th minute.
Dawes, released back into the wild, converted to reduce the arrears at 29-14. However three minutes later Cottle latched onto a pass just inside his own half and jinked round half the York team to score a brilliant solo try. Harrison converted to seal a well-deserved bonus try win.
At the conclusion of my report last week I expressed the hope that Lee Douglas’ charges would repeat their away form in front of their own supporters at Silver Royd and they did so with gusto in this game.
From Ian Williams who was drafted in as hooker at the last minute and veteran Tom Fish to youngster Joe Marshall everyone played their part.
The Shield final comes up in a month’s time and everyone is playing for a place in that game, however the application and purpose of the side was palpable in what was the penultimate game of the league season.