Resurgent Scarborough battled hard throughout a pretty undistinguished encounter played in cold blustery conditions at Silver Royd but were undone in the latter stages of the game by a more organized and confident Bridlington side intelligently marshalled by veteran flyhalf Jamie Muru.
Bridlington number eight James Thomson was at the centre of the action from the Scarborough kick-off, knocking on as he received it then spear tackling a Scarborough player following the resulting scrum. Fly-half Tom Harrison kicked the penalty for a 3-0 Scarborough lead in the first minute.
Bridlington took control in the early stages with South African fullback Sizwe Zondo making some runs from deep made easy for him by some wayward kicking from defence by the home side. With Thomson in the sin-bin Scarborough should have taken advantage of their numerical superiority but the men from Dukes Park settled and Muru was able to run the show without let or hindrance from a sluggish home back row.
With Thomson back in action the visitors pressed and when Scarborough infringed, Muru levelled the scores with a well struck penalty in the 14th minute. Going into the second quarter it was all ‘Brid’ whose rucking produced some clean ball for halfbacks Martin Robinson at scrum-half and Muru. At this stage the Seasiders continued to pump the ball downfield for very little reward; mostly into the arms of Zondo.
However following a penalty miss in front of the posts by Muru, a penalty chance for Harrison in at the other end was slotted for a 6-3 Scarborough lead in the 29th minute.
Bridlington spent most of the last 10 minutes of the half in home territory and when clean ball was won at a lineout, it was swiftly moved through four pairs of hands for winger Regan Stirk to sprint over near the right corner flag in the 38th minute. Muru missed the conversion and Bridlington went to the interval 8-6 ahead.
The second half started with plenty of incident. Muru kicked a penalty from in front of the posts in the 42nd minute for an offence not made clear by referee Mr Lazenby.
Leading 11-6 Brid should have consolidated but Scarborough took control in midfield and from a superb break by centre Craig Farrell the ball was moved right for fullback James, up in support, to draw Brid’s ‘SJ’ Burrows and release try magnet Tom Ratcliffe to gallop over for his 17th of the season in the 45th minute. Harrison failed to nudge his side ahead with the conversion and the scores remained level at 11-11.
Play surged from end to end during the third quarter with some incisive running from both sides with James and winger Corey Dennis making ground for the home side and Muru, Zondo, Lawry and left wing Burrows doing the business for the visitors. During this period it looked as if a score of any sort might set the Seasiders up for their first victory over their old rivals in a couple of years.
However it was the more composed visiting side who struck next, Muru landing a long range dipping penalty via the crossbar in the 62nd minute. And they wrapped things up five minutes later when Zondo broke from halfway before releasing Burrows to scorch the left touchline leaving two would be tacklers in his wake to score a fine try in the corner. Apart from a breakout by Ratcliffe, most of the final 10 minutes were played out in the Scarborough 22 with some great defence preventing any further score before Mr Lazenby’s final whistle brought an end to an absorbing rather than exciting game deservedly won by Brid.
Scarborough grafted throughout a hard fought game and a solid performance from the tight five with Luke Raines at hooker, kept them in touch throughout. With so many newcomers and enforced changes even after half a season the side has surprisingly failed to gell.
However they have managed to thrill Silver Royd with some great tries, 59 in all games. In the forwards Matthew Else is having a renaissance at number eight with 40+ props Jason Lowde and Tom Fish still going strong. Halfbacks Harrison and Jake Rollinson graft away every week and Craig Farrell has played outstandingly since August. Newcomers Ratcliffe, James and Corey Dennis are as exciting a trio of backs as I’ve seen at the club for a while so hopes are high for 2012.