Pirates seal title success as Stirk’s hat-trick drives them past Dockers

Tom Ratcliffe has been in inspired form for the Scarborough Pirates this season
Tom Ratcliffe has been in inspired form for the Scarborough Pirates this season

In a man of the match display, a Regan Stirk hat-trick secured victory on the day and captured the Yorkshire Men’s Group 4 Trophy, to the delight of a large crowd at Eastway.

Going into the game, the Pirates knew that victory would see them crowned as Group 4 champions. Undefeated throughout the campaign, the home side started nervously and with two penalties and a knock on in the early encounters, Dockers took the first score through David Palmer. James Mulligan added the two and the hosts knew the day would be tough.

The visitors fielded a virtual under-18s side with some good talented youngsters on display. However, the lack of weight within the forwards would prove costly with firstly Oliver Battye crashing over before Sam Hakings followed suit, bouncing an opponent to score out wide.

Tom Ratcliffe converted one of the two goal attempts to ease 10-6 ahead on 17 minutes.

The Dockers continued to try and take the game to the Pirates, much to their credit.

Class wins games though and on 24 minutes Ratcliffe took control as the Dockers mounted a try attempt. On the fifth tackle, James Carrick kicked through, with Ratcliffe gathering well. He side stepped and off-loaded under arm in the tackle. Stirk backed up, crashing into the shocked Sonny Gough, before racing 90 metres to touchdown under the posts.

Ratcliffe converted to take the Pirates into a 16-6 half-time lead.

The next quarter would see the talented Pirates team complete the task in hand. Giant New Zealand forward Jim Thompson galloped clear on 45 minutes,

Two minutes later Stirk would race a similar path down the left wing, then on 54 minutes repeat the feat to conclude his hat-trick.

Relaxing slightly, the home team allowed the young Dockers chance to play. They took this opportunity with Palmer adding his second and Matty Small diving in to pull back to 32-16. With much skill the Dockers had some good spells of play, but had no answer for the vision and passing skills of Ratcliffe.

His addition to the gutsy Pirates side this season has brought a new dimension to the plays. His ability to feed the hungry Dave Douthwaite and powerful props Jamie Broadmore and Sam Millward has proved pivotal.

Time after time the breaks were made. When these players went off, they were replaced by the menacing Dom Brining and more power in the bulk of Alex Conlin.

The Dockers tired under constant bombardment and Ratcliffe would find Jack Johnson out right to go over, before feeding Thompson minutes later to go into a gap off-loading to Jack Hakings to deservedly add his name to the try scorers list.

The Dockers scored a late consolation, but Ratcliffe, kicking five out of eight of the touchdowns sealed a 42-22 victory and as a result, the title for the Pirates.

The former Scarborough All Blacks forward Kenny Oldroyd has been an ever present spectator at the Pirates home games this season and has enjoyed every minute.

He was full of praise for this squad of young men who secure a rugby league trophy for the first time in over 20 years for a Scarborough side, Ken being part of that winning All Black side, some years ago.

Ken said: “Winning a League title at any level of Rugby League is an achievement, especially with so much travelling to do. The players have put in tremendous efforts and are Champions in their own right having not lost a game.”

Pirates: Sleep, Stirk, Battye, Johnson, S Hakings, J Hakings, Ratcliffe, D Brining, A Lee, Broadmore, Robinson, Sutton, Douthwaite, Young, Thompson, Craig, S Millward