Visitors Scarborough work hard for Castleford success

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Scarborough bounced back fromrecent disappointments with a gritty, determined display against a much strengthened and belligerent Castleford bent on ending a disastrous run of results that have seen them slip from mid-table to the bottom of Yorkshire One.

Having had to change pitches due the first team paddock being unfit for play, Castleford set off at a cracking pace and opened the scoring within five minutes of the start, former rugby league centre Craig Jeffels, who was returning from suspension following a sending-off at Barnsley, releasing fullback Jacob Crossland to cross following a flowing threequarters move.

Scrum-half Ian Mattison hit the upright with his conversion attempt.

Stung into action the visitors laid siege to the Castleford line and when centre Craig Farrell blasted past Jeffells in mid-field, a Tom Harrison cross kick took play wide: an attempted fly-hack to touch by defending wing Paul Broadbend flew straight to a Scarborough try-magnet Tom Ratcliffe who reached out and got the touch.

Harrison added the touchline conversion for 7-5 in the eighth minute.

Rattled, the west Yorkshiremen went for a series of high tackles and some short-arm stuff in an attempt to rough the visitors up but they were having none of it and referee Mr Hickson had a real game on his hands.

A poor Scarborough clearance from defence in the 10th minute was fielded by Crossland and moved wide; a sweet pass from Jeffels sent fellow centre Craig Fawcett scything through the visiting defence to crash over.

Mattison converted to grab back the lead at 12-7.

Scarborough ratcheted up the pressure and Harrison reduced the arrears to a couple of points with a penalty in the 17th minute.

With a steady platform and Phil Watson and Nick Ingham providing good lineout ball Scarborough launched a series of attacks crossing the gain line with regularity when a slick threes move released Rob James the Aussie fullback; using Ratcliffe as a dummy runner he outpaced the home defence to score a thrilling try in the corner in the 22nd minute.

Harrison hit the upright with his conversion attempt but Scarborough led 15-10.

The second quarter was less frenetic than the first and a 27th minute equalising penalty from Castleford’s Mattison was the half’s only further score; although Scarborough flanker Charlie Hoggard did cross the line on the stroke of half-time but was adjudged to have been not grounded the ball.

With the scoreline at 15-15 Castleford came out fired up for the second half in intimidating mood but they were greeted with the same uncompromising response they had received in the first, however Mattison penalties in the 47th and 55th minutes gave them hope of their first victory since September at 21-15.

However as the game went into the final quarter Scarborough looked the fitter of the teams and took control with some good ball-carrying drives from hooker Nino Cutino, Ingham and Phil Watson, who was enjoying taking the fight to his former clubmates.

And from a lineout just inside the Castleford half, backs and forwards combined for Cutino to release flanker Chris Purdy who broke blind to power 40 metres up the right touchline at real pace to score on the hour to cut the deficit to a single point at 20-21.

Scarborough took control as the west Yorkshiremen tired and it was no surprise when Nino Cutino was driven over in the 69th minute following a catch and drive at an attacking lineout.

Harrison converted for 27-21.

The Scarborough fly-half missed a late penalty in front of the posts which would have put the game beyond Castleford but coach Dave Beck’s men thoroughly deserved their hard-fought win.

A much improved team performance saw Scarborough front up when their opponents resorted to rough house tactics; in fact they more than held their own and refused to succumb to intimidation.

In an uncompromising pack Phil Watson, playing in his preferred position in the second row, had his best game for the club, while in the backs Craig Farrell’s ball-carrying going forward and tackling in defence was a continuation of the dynamic form he has shown all season.

So, bring on Bridlington at Silver Royd next week.

The men from down the coast maintained their grip on top spot in Yorkshire One with the 23-12 defeat of Huddersfield YMCA at Dukes Park on Saturday.