A CLINICAL opening half hour in which they scored four unanswered tries was the key to a twelfth consecutive win for high-flying Pocklington that saw them grab top spot in Yorkshire One.
Scarborough fought back with spirit and commitment and played all the rugby in the remaining hour of the game but could only manage to break down a raw-boned defence once in an absorbing second half.
Pocklington went off like a train with a brisk northerly wind behind them and scored within three minutes of the start. A back row move from a scrum in the Scarborough half saw blind side flanker James Wilkinson scamper down the right before recycling left for centre Jake Bishop to gallop over leaving defender Graeme Jeffrey in his wake. No8 Billy Hardy added the extras for a 7-0 lead.
A shell-shocked Scarborough side struggled in the opening exchanges against the visitors who were well drilled and athletic; and when a penalty deep into the home 22 produced an attacking lineout, skipper Matt Webber was driven over from short range in the 10th minute. Hardy failed to convert.
The Seasiders were struggling to get their hands on the ball but when flanker Luke Raines stole it following a Pocklington lineout, prop Nino Cutino bullocked into the 22 where the visitors infringed.
The resulting lineout from the penalty was stolen and the chance had gone. And Scarborough was immediately made to rue their lineout profligacy when a booming clearance from fly-half Jack Holbrough took the visitors deep into home territory.
Scarborough once again butchered their own lineout, infringed and and Holbrough’s penalty took them to the five metre line where a superb catch-drive saw Webber go over for his second try. Hardy converted for 19-0.
Tom Ratcliffe who had taken a knock early on was replaced at centre by Paul White.
And the agony was not yet over; good work by fly-half Marcus Edwards, wing Corey Dennis and skipper Nick Ingham took Scarborough into the visitors 22 but a turnover in an attacking position saw Bishop scamper the length of the field to grab a forth try for his side with less than half an hour on the clock.
Hardy kicked the extra two for a 26-0 lead. Reeling from the whirlwind start, the men from Silver Royd eventually settled and looked good with ball in hand with Raines, James and especially centre Craig Farrell crossing the gain line with regularity.
However as good as they looked with ball in hand they always looked vulnerable when they lost possession and their discipline left much to be desired. A surging run by Jeffrey into the visitors’ 22 following good work by Edwards, James and Farrell was stopped just short of the line and Pocklington cleared their lines to complete the half.
Scarborough started the second half at a blistering pace and good work by Edwards and Farrell released fullback James who almost made it to the line before being halted by a crunching cover tackle.
However they camped in the visitors 22 and Cutino and skipper Ingham went very close only to be halted by some great defence by the visitors. However something had to give and when a visiting defender was pinged for offside in front of the posts Edwards made no mistake with the penalty to reduce the arrears in the 45th minute.
With their tails up Scarborough laid siege to the visitor’s line and following a couple of penalties, one just short of the line, ever alert flanker Luke Raines burrowed over to touchdown in the 55 minute. Edwards added the extras for 10-26 in the 55th minute.
At this stage, Scarborough ,with Edwards and Farrell orchestrating, were completely on top and had they been a little more composed would have got themselves right back in the game.
The forwards were now outplaying the visiting eight and Phil Watson, Nick Ingham, Nino Cutino, Raines and Chris Purdy were rampant. A great driving run by hooker Ian Williams was stopped inches from the line by great Pocklington defence and Cutino, up in support, knocked on over the line and the chance was gone.
With Paul Taylor on for Tom Fish and Jaxon Tite replacing Charlie Hoggard Scarborough kept hammering away at the visitor’s line but stout defence held sway and in the closing minutes Pocklington managed to break out and spend the last few minutes of the game in home territory.
Pocklington were full value for their 26-10 bonus point win thanks to a scintillating first half performance and some great second half defence; they look a good bet for promotion. Scarborough were caught cold and never recovered from their early mauling; however they went on to play some great stuff in the remaining fifty minutes with Edwards, Farrell, James, Cutino, Raines, Purdy, Ingham and Corey Dennis just nosing ahead of the others. The set scrums were solid however the lineout was a struggle. Paul White looked sharp on his return from injury.
The brand of rugby Dave Beck’s charges look to play is exciting and if they can add composure and discipline to their dynamism, the prospect is for some great stuff to come at Silver Royd in the coming months.