Old Brodlieans 22 Scarborough 23
There is no doubt that the biggest influence on this game was the infamous Hipperholme slope and the blustery wind and driving rain which blew from top to bottom down the pitch all afternoon.
All of the points in a hard-fought encounter between two evenly matched sides were scored by the side playing ‘down the hill.’
Scarborough won the toss and elected to take on the slope and the weather in the first half and soon found them under the cosh from a lively ‘Brods’ outfit which dominated the set pieces in the early exchanges.
Fly-half Danny Wood missed what looked like an easy kick for the west-Yorkshire men with the gale behind him in the 2nd minute when the visitors were penalized for not releasing. However, following a period of pressure on the Scarborough line flanker Rob Jennings drove over for the opening score in the seventh minute for 5-0. Wood failed to convert.
In the teeth of a gale, the Seasiders struggled to get out of their own half but great work by Blake Nightingale, Chris Purdy, Matthew Else, Tom Harrison and an industrious Zybnec Schutz at scrum-half mean they had some possession in the home half but it was literally an uphill struggle.
The game inevitably was played deep in Scarborough territory and when Brods moved the ball infield from a scrum in the visitors’ 22, centre Sam Deacon hit the line at an angle to cross and cut underneath the posts to score in the 18th minute. Wood added the extras for a 12-0 lead.
Scarborough did get to within striking distance of the home line for a short period when they had an attacking five-metre lineout but Brods cleared the danger and a great breakout from defence by centre Gareth Standeven took play the length of the field where an outrageous dummy saw Deacon stroll in for his second try in the 26th minute. Wood converted for 19-0.
Scarborough lost the services of Tom Ratcliffe at full-back with an eye injury and Jan Teiber deputized; Matthew Oxtoby came on in the second row with Matty Else moving to No8 and Ryan Pickering came on for Paul Taylor in the front row.
The Seasiders defended well in the final quarter of an hour but were penalized by referee Mr Wolstenholm in the 40th minute for talking back and Wood slotted the resulting kick for a 22-0 half-time lead.
With the slope, wind and elements behind them Scarborough set to the task of getting back into the game after the break. And the pack with their youthful front row of Ryan Pickering, Mark Hopper and Tommy Goodman warmed to their task with Oxtoby, Mike Readman and the back row of Purdy, Nightingale and the immense Matty Else relishing their work.
Behind them Schutz and Harrison were directing and the backline was abuzz with Billy Parker making some great breaks, Matty Young in the thick of it and Benji Cottle everywhere.
Brods defended well but something had to give and it was no surprise that it was Else who opened the Scarborough account when, following a series of drives metres from the line, the big farmer went low through a mass of defenders to burrow over wide on the right in the 58th minute. Tom Harrison added the difficult conversion and added a penalty three minutes later to cut the deficit to 12 points at 22-10.
Skipper Chris Purdy’s men had their hosts pinned deep in their own half and a towering display from Else spurred on his teammates to greater efforts. And when some loose Old Brodlieans’ tackling and marking wide on Scarborough’s left saw Cottle snatch possession, the Kiwi centre glided up the touchline for the visitors’ second try in the 65th minute to reduce the arrears at 22-15. Harrison failed to convert but pulled back another three points in the 72nd minute will a penalty when Brods were caught offside in midfield.
Trailing by four points and with conditions worsening, a rampant Scarborough laid siege to the home line and for Brods it was all hands to the pumps; the visitors were awarded a string of penalties metres out and it looked as if referee Mr Wolstenholme was running out of patience and was thinking of awarding a penalty try for repeated infringements.
With a rapidly tiring home pack struggling, skipper Purdy opted for three consecutive scrums and from the final one Else sent Cottle over on the blind side to clinch the game. It was a controversial score as the Brods side surrounded Mr Wolstenholme claiming that Cottle had lost control of the ball. However the official was not for turning and although Harrison missed the touchline conversion, the whistle blew and the turnaround was complete at 23-22.