Scarborough Pirates suffered defeat in the Yorkshire Cup as they travelled to face local rivals Beverley ARLFC and missed out by a solitary point.
Pirates were without key squad members with injuries keeping Joe Hitchcock, Alex Collins and Hooch Tindall on the sidelines.
But on a brighter note they did welcome back the experience of forwards Keith Paddock and Dan Stanley and young second rower Tom Read came back into the side alongside player-coach Adam Lee.
A game of two halves ensued and began in scrappy fashion with neither side able to get a hold of the game.
It was Beverley who broke the deadlock after 15 minutes when some scrappy defending let the home side in out wide.The conversion was missed and Beverley led 4-0.
This seemed to be the catalyst Pirates needed as they upped the tempo with their powerful forwards Liam Braithwaite and Nathan Hakings leading from the front.
Their first try came off the back of a good attacking set which the Pirates were rewarded for with a penalty for trying to deliberately slow down play, which they capitalised on immediately when Stanley powered over on the first tackle. The try was converted and the Pirates led 6-4.
Pirates continued to complete sets and earn good field position and when hooker Nicky Brining scooted from acting half it looked almost certain he would score.
But a scramble defence managed to keep him out. The ball was then shipped from Stanley to Jack Johnson, who found Luke Jenkinson to finish in the corner. Again the try was converted and the Pirates were looking good at 12-4.
Beverley weren’t taking their chances and with a quick defence from the Pirates, they were forcing error after error.
The next try came again off the back of a penalty when Josh McNeil found the big prop Braithwaite, who came in on a great line and just managed to get the ball down with one hand. McNeil converted once again for 18-4.
Half-time wasn’t far away and some desperate defence managed to keep Beverley at bay, but just before the break McNeil was deemed not to of cleared the ruck area and was sent to the sin-bin, meaning the Pirates would begin the second half a man down.
Player-coach Lee instructed his players to up the completion rate at half-time and play safe rugby as they had no need to chase the game.
The first 10 minutes weren’t far away from the task set and they rode the pressure with a man down.
The Pirates were now giving away stupid amounts of penalties though and Beverley weren’t to be kept out for long.
In the 55th minute they managed to score their second try, which was converted to reduce their arrears to 18-10.
The Pirates tried to slow the game down with a drop goal from McNeil for 19-10.
Lee’s men continued to let Beverley back into the game with a mixture of ill-discipline and a lack of completion in attack.
The home side kept on knocking on the door and even with fine tackling performances from hooker Brining and forward Hakings they couldn’t be kept out.
A lack of line speed cost the Pirates the next try as Beverley shipped the ball from one side of the pitch to the other and scored almost unchallenged. The try was converted to ensure some nerves in the Pirates ranks at 19-16.
Beverley’s big home crowd got behind them and with five minutes left knew they had nothing to lose and kept the ball alive. In the 76th minutes Pirates’ worst nightmare became reality when Beverley found a try in the corner. Pirates could have clinched the victory in the dying embers of the clash when Sleep found himself in space, but a great cover tackle forced to knock on and the final score was 20-19 to the home side.
A disappointed player-coach Lee said: “It just wasn’t our day.
“A couple of decisions went against us but it was the failure to protect possession and complete sets that was decisive on the day.”
Beverley picked out Tom Jenkinson as man of the match.
Pirates face Bilton Sullies in their first home fixture of the winter season. The game at Eastway kicks off at 2pm.