Fine performances from loose forward Jack Hakings and scrum-half James Millward, combined with the pace of two-try winger Tom Jenkinson, saw Scarborough Pirates win the inaugural Yorkshire Mens League Division 1 Grand Final at the Mend-a-hose Stadium, Castleford on Saturday.
They were pushed all the way by a never-say-die Hunslet outfit, superbly led by Jamie Graves, who nearly staged a dramatic fightback; the recent league game between them having ended as a draw.
Scarborough got off to the worst possible start, knocking on from the kick-off and giving away a penalty for offside on their line, hooker David Medley going over from dummy half for Parkside, Michael Waite goaling.
Pirates, with a loud following behind them, got back into the match on the back of three successive penalties – two for ball stealing, livewire Nick Brining scoring a try but James Millward wide with the conversion attempt.
Millward made amends in the ninth minute, his pinpoint crosskick picking out Jenkinson to put Scarborough in front, Millward with the extras.
A forward pass from the re-start put Parkside back in possession, the half backs combining well for Chris Boyce to send in Graves out wide to level, Waite missing with the conversion attempt.
Scarborough regained the lead after Millward was taken high; Keith Paddock went close and Adam Lee’s reverse pass sent in Jack Hakings between the posts, Millward goaling to make it 16-10.
Millward became increasingly influential, linking with Oliver Battye and then Jack Hakings to set the position for Brining to burrow over for his second try just before the half hour, Millward again on target with the boot.
Hunslet got back into it soon after, Conner Dunbar’s pass sending Anthony Addinall on a mazy run to the line, Waite converting to bring the gap back to six points.
But they undid that with a penalty from the restart, Lee’s precise grubber to the corner allowing Regan Stirk to touch down, Millward with the touchline conversion.
Having withstood a spell of Hunslet pressure on their own line, Jenkinson thought he had collected a brace from Lee’s clever kick but he was deemed offside as the half-time whistle sounded.
Six minutes into the second half, Parkside were back in it, Addinall again the threat on the left and Boyce’s cross kick seeing Ben Jacques gather and go over but the goal was missed.
The clash became feisty with plenty of pushing and niggle in the tackle in midfield, but when Scarborough moved the ball wide, Battye’s fine pass sent Jenkinson racing through from 45 metres for a lovely score, Millward adding the conversion to establish a 14-point lead.
Hunslet refused to accede, Graves going close before Ben Thorpe crashed over, Luke Medley goaling, and Boyce’s clever kick then causing havoc but Harry Sleep diffused the danger with an excellent run to clear his in-goal.
Spilt possession cost Parkside, though, Jenkinson’s burst out of defence and good work by Jack Hakings and the Pirates half-backs seeing Brinning chip to the corner, Battye gathering and taking it to 38-26 with 11 minutes remaining.
Still the Parksiders pressed, Graves going close and - after the Pirates lost the ball in their own quarter - the tricky scrum-half weaved his way over, Luke Medley goaling to narrow the gap to a converted try.
Graves again made a break looking for parity but the ball was lost and the chance gone.
PIRATES: 1 Harry Sleep, 2 Tom Jenkinson, 3 Oliver Battye, 4 Jack Johnson, 5 Regan Stirk, 6 Adam Lee, 7 James Millward, 8 Alex Conlin, 9 Nick Brining, 10 Liam Braithwaite, 11 Dave Douthwaite, 12 Alex Collins, 13 Jack Hakings
Subs (all used): 14 Nathan Hakings, 17 Joe Hitchcock, 19 Carl Stephenson, 20 Keith Paddock
Tries: Brining (6, 29), Jenkinson (9, 52), J. Hakings (24), Stirk (35), Battye (69). Goals: Millward 5. Man of the match: Jack Hakings