Scarborough suffer narrow Heath defeat

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Another narrow defeat, their seventh this season, earned enigmatic Scarborough an eleventh bonus point from a turgid affair played on a heavy surface made greasy by a shower just prior to the kick-off.

Playing down the Heath slope Scarborough took the game to the west Yorkshiremen from the start and some direct running from centres Craig Farrell and Graeme Jeffrey tested the home defence.

But from clean possession in their own half, home outside centre Kevin Craven released wing Rob Thackeray to scamper up the left flank leaving his opposite number Corey Dennis and fly-half Tom Harrison in his wake.

However, the Seasiders’ young wing recovered to assist a posse of defenders to drive Thackeray into touch.

Up front Scarborough still struggled for stability at the scrums where they were wheeled by the reportedly under strength Heath pack however their lineout fared better than on their last league outing with Mike Readman, Nick Ingham and back rower Chris Purdy working well.

When a penalty on half-way took them deep into the home 22, a lack of composure saw Dave Beck’s charges unable to get the touchdown their approach work had definitely deserved.

However, Heath fly-half Ezra Hinchliffe strayed offside in front of his own posts and Harrison slotted the resulting penalty in the 10th minute for 3-0.

Wingman Corey Dennis, who has fared well since arriving at Silver Royd a short time ago, looked as if he may be on for his first try when he intercepted deep in his own half in the 21st minute, but he was surprisingly overhauled and cover tackled by a retreating Heath back three.

However, it did demonstrate the quick thinking of this promising young player.

The visitors continued to press and good work combining forwards and backs saw winger Tom Ratcliffe come inside to take a superb pop pass and surge over for the opening try of the game in the 29th minute.

Harrison added the extras for 10-0.

Not for the first time this season Dave Beck’s charges appeared to mentally switch off in the run up to half time with a fairly healthy lead in the bag.

As they were congratulating themselves on Ratcliffe’s superbly worked try, from a ruck deep in the Scarborough 22, Heath’s Hinchliffe spotted a gap on the open side and waltzed through to score.

Centre Ben Mitchell added the extras to reduce the arrears to three points in the 35th minute.

The homesters continued to turn the screw and from an attacking lineout deep in the visitors’ 22, they laid siege to the line.

A series of rucks in injury time eventually saw flanker Ollie Wilby drive over, Mitchell converting for a 14-10 half-time lead.

A scoreless second half did little to warm the meagre turnout at North Dean with most of the game being played in the middle third of the park.

For Scarborough the introduction of veteran prop Tom Fish steadied the forward platform while the presence of Jaxon Tite, on for the injured Luke Raines, added some dynamism and belligerence to the back row.

However, the forwards rarely provided ‘go forward’ ball for the visiting backs to get into the game and consequently when they did get possession they were on the back foot and unable to make much ground under some pressure.

Some accurate line kicking from Harrison took the play deep into Heath’s territory late in the encounter but skipper Nick Ingham’s men just couldn’t get the momentum which would have produced a score to grab the points late on.

In a lack-lustre Scarborough performance Nino Cutino, Mikey Readman and Jaxon Tite were the pick of the forwards while full-back Rob James, Harrison, Farrell and Dennis took the eye in the backs.

However, the coaches at Silver Royd must be at a loss as to why so many winnable games have been lost by a handful of points.

Each and every one of the seven games in question could have easily been won by Scarborough, in which case the Yorkshire One table would have looked very different on Saturday evening.

The effort expended by the players has never been in question so it can only be mindset in these close encounters.

Losing can become as much of a habit as winning and a win in one of these tight games will lead to further success for the Silver Royd men.

However, in the short term Scarborough are now perilously close to the relegation zone and next week’s game at struggling Castleford, who have been leaking points lately and have sunk to the bottom of Yorkshire One, has grown in significance.