Malton & Norton 28
Free from the shackles of league rugby Scarborough and visitors Malton fielded teams with a fair smattering of unfamiliar faces and shared 10 tries in a thrilling encounter in atrocious windy conditions at Silver Royd.
With a south-westerly wind whipping diagonally across the pitch Scarborough kicked off into the wind and an improvement on last week’s lineout performance which saw them win a couple against the throw took them into the Malton 22.
However the men from the Gannock defended well and cleared their lines.
Fly-half Tom Harrison kept pushing them back with a series of raking, low trajectory line kicks. Scarborough turned the screw as the quarter progressed and a series of bullocking runs from inside centre Craig Farrell began to make inroads in the Malton defensive line.
And when a Farrell break in the 22nd minute took Scarborough deep into visiting territory, a quick penalty saw hooker Ian Williams barge over.
Harrison kicked a superb touchline conversion into the wind to convert.
And Farrell was in the thick of it five minutes later when a great break through the middle saw him release Ratcliffe who rounded two defenders to touch down.
Harrison added the extras for 14-0.
Although they struggled somewhat at the set-scrums Scarborough more than held their own up front against a big Malton pack for whom No8 John Dobson was performing well.
Scarborough No8 for the day Matty Else was relishing his back row duties and some of his all-enveloping tackles and driving play were typical of the big farmer in his pomp.
Scarborough looked to pressure the ball carrier and when a floated pass on halfway was intercepted by Ratcliffe, the big winger’s deceptive pace took him to the line in the 31st minute.
Harrison, who was in great form with the boot, converted for 21-0.
Malton looked to strike back immediately and a superbly flowing threequarters move them deep into Scarborough territory.
Fullback Teei Piawi looked to have broken clear down the Malton left but a blistering burst of speed by Scarborough wing Corey Dennis caught the big Cook Islander and he was bundled into touch.
A good break from defence by the Seasiders’ wing Harry Sleep took him to the Malton 22 but he was stopped by a good cover tackle and Cattle cleared his lines.
Rob James made a great break from his own 22 down the Scarborough left, however the Australian full-back lacked the support when he was tackled inside the visitors’ 22 and the half ended with Scarborough 21-0 ahead.
Malton struck within three minutes of the restart when following a tap penalty near the Scarborough line prop Carl Muscroft drove over to open his side’s account. Fullback Piawi converted.
And three minutes later a great run by Dobson released scrum-half Dan Cattle who brushed aside some poor home tackles to crash over between the uprights.
Piawi added the conversion to reduce the arrears to seven points and it was game on.
Scarborough responded almost immediately when following a superb long pass by Harrison, Sleep’s foot just touched the touchline in the act of scoring in the corner.
However Malton couldn’t clear their lines and from a tap-penalty Nick Burgess barged over in the 52nd minute. Harrison landed the difficult wide conversion for 28-14.
Malton had awakened from their slumbers after the break and look far livelier than they had done in the opening 40 minutes and a superb surging run from left wing Josh Saunders took them deep into home territory however good work by the Scarborough scrambling defence won possession and Harrison his lines.
A tap-penalty saw the visitors attack down their right flank but an interception by Dennis saw the young wingman sprint two-thirds the length of the field only to be cover-tackled just short of the line, Harrison up in support gathered to power over and add another difficult conversion for 35-14 in the 56th minute.
Malton bounced back with a try two minutes later when Harrison fumbled untidy ball from a defensive scrum and a grateful Dobson gathered and crossed from short range.
Teei Piawi slotted his third difficult conversion of the afternoon to reduce the arrears at 35-21.
Malton made a mess of the restart and Scarborough then turned the screw deep in visiting territory and when an attempted clearance was charged down Farrell moved the ball wide and James up in support, outstripped the visiting defence to power over wide on the right in the 63rd minute.
Harrison’s wide conversion fell just short.
Malton had the lion’s share of possession in the closing stages of the game and should have further reduced the arrears in the 70th minute when centre Ryan Lonsdale knocked on in the act of touching down following a surging run.
A superb run from his own half by Saunders surely deserved a try as he jinked round several would-be tacklers and accelerated away.
However Scarborough’s Corey Dennis caught up with him just short of the line in front of the posts and executed another try-saving tackle.
However justice was done at a subsequent scrum when Dan Cattle darted over for the final touchdown of a real try-fest of a match. Piawi converted for 40-28 in the 75th minute.
In the capricious windy conditions both sides turned in good handling performances and both Tom Harrison and Teei Piawi’s goal kicking was exceptional.
However Scarborough harnessed the elements better in open play with Harrison turning the visiting defence with some fine tactical kicking.
Pick of the forwards was Matty Else who turned in a vintage performance at number eight while in the backs Farrell, James and Dennis took the eye.
Try-magnet Tom Ratcliffe keeps running them in, his two in this game brings his personal tally to 14 so far this season.
Sam Warren and Matty Young, moving up from the colts, also acquitted themselves well as did Mike Readman at lock and Nick Burgess who ran in a try in his first start at prop.
Let’s hope Nick Ingham’s men can take this uninhibited approach and free-scoring form into the three difficult league games coming up before Christmas.
Scarborough: James, Sleep, Ratcliffe, Farrell, Dennis, Harrison, Rollinson, Burgess, Williams, Cutino, Readman, Ingham (capt), Purdy, Warren, Else.
Man of the Match: Matty Else: In the absence of Phil Watson and Wayne Adams, Else turned the clock back with a hard-tackling, aggressive performance in his first game in the back row for many seasons against a big visiting eight.
Scarborough: 40 - Tries: Williams, Ratcliff (2), Burgess, Harrison, James. Conversions: Harrison (5)
Malton & Norton: 28 - Tries: Salisbury, Cattle(2), Dobson. Conversions: Piawi (4)