Scarborough gained revenge for last season’s early exit from the Yorkshire Shield at the hands of Selby with A 16-9 victory at Silver Royd thanks to a try from stand-in fullback Tom Harrison and eleven points from the boot of new first choice kicker Tom Ratcliffe.
Both sides looked to run the ball in the early exchanges but although their intentions were good they were too often let down in the execution. Scarborough however had the best of the possession and attacked through the middle and down their left flank where wing Corry Dennis was a real handful.
The Seasiders were awarded a couple of early kickable penalties, one in front of the posts, but surprisingly declined them to go for touch. Both moves from the resulting lineouts came to northing thanks to some solid Selby defending and skipper Watson’s men went unrewarded for their pressure. Not so the visitors who came away with points from their first incursion into home territory when 18 year old fly-half Josh Cruise landed a sweetly struck drop-goal following an attacking lineout on Selby’s right for a 3-0 lead in the 9th minute.
And the young number ten nudged his side further ahead five minutes later when Scarborough infringed 35 metres out for 6-0.
At this point Scarborough were kicking away far too much possession or were failing to get the distance when attempting to turn the visiting back three.
Fortunately the Selby backs lacked pace and their pedestrian attempts to run the ball saw Tom Ratcliffe in the centre intercept a loose pass on halfway and gallop off downfield. He was hauled back by the referee who apparently adjudged another home player offside. Cruise just pulled his long-distance penalty effort wide in the 17th minute.
Both sides had their moments in the second quarter which was dominated by the boot of Cruise who repeatedly pinned Scarborough back with some superb line kicking. And the youngster stretched his side’s lead to 9-0 in the 35th minute when Scarborough were penalized almost 40 metres from their own line.
A largely forgettable first 40 minutes for the Seasiders was almost rescued just before half-time when Dennis made a searing run to take play deep into the visitor’s 22 but the attack broke down and from a poor Scarborough lineout Cruise cleared his lines.
I don’t know what Coach Jason Lowde said at half-time but Scarborough looked a different side after the break. Prop Nino Cutino who was the pick of the bunch in the first half made a storming start to the second forty repeatedly punching holes in the Selby defence and getting over the gain line. Luke Raines was streaming through and new open-side Ben Wilson and back row colleagues Chris Purdy and Phil Austen were getting into the action. It was no surprise therefore when Scarborough scored a well worked try in the 52nd minute; a great break by Cutino saw the ball moved through hands with centre Billy Parker, fly-half Phil Stewart and Ratcliffe involved to send Harrison, up in support, over wide on the Scarborough right.
Ratcliffe added the extras from the touchline to reduce the arrears to A couple of points at 7-9.
With Czech international scrum-half Zybnec Schutz on for Jake Rollinson and Jaxon Tite replacing Rob Dean at hooker the home forwards started to dominate a tiring visiting pack and when they infringed 30 metres out the metronomic boot of Ratcliffe dished out the punishment and Scarborough led for the first time in the game 10-9. With the rub of the green a couple of tries would have given the scoreline a healthier appearance but skipper Watson had to settle for a further couple of penalties from Tom Ratcliffe in the 60th and 75th minutes to complete a stirring second half fight back and progress to the second round of the competition.
Coach Lowde will be relieved to get a first win under his belt but will look for a more sustained performance from his class of 2012. With several new additions, players injured and missing and men playing out of position they obviously took time to settle but when they played with ball in hand they looked the business. The lineout was a worry however where there was far too much flapping at the ball and that will have to improve for next week’s visit of Driffield in the league. The defence was solid with Wilson in good form and discipline improved in the second half; pick of the forwards was Cutino, Raines, Wilson and Purdy. Behind them Rollinson, new man Schutz, Parker, Dennis, Harrison and Ratcliffe took the eye and youngster Matty Young was not overawed by the occasion.