Hopper returns for Scarborough RUFC’s Heath trip

Action from Scarborough RUFC's 18-11 win at Heath last season
Action from Scarborough RUFC's 18-11 win at Heath last season

With three consecutive wins to their credit, Scarborough RUFC travel west on Saturday to take on Heath RFC at their North Dean HQ near Halifax.

Last Saturday the Seasiders were convincing 34-5 winners of their game with Pontefract at Silver Royd running in five tries, including two from skipper Tom Ratcliffe, for a bonus point win which moved them up to fifth in Yorkshire One. Unfortunately, the injury-time sending-off of flanker Eamon Chapman took the gloss off the victory.

Heath, their opponents on Saturday made a very poor start to the season winning only one of their opening seven games but bounced back in November with consecutive victories over Old Brods at home 14-3, Bridlington at Dukes Park 14-0 and Pontefract at North Dean 11-10 a couple of weeks ago.

Last Saturday they travelled to unbeaten leaders Doncaster Phoenix and predictably went down 36-3; however they reportedly put up a real fight; their only points came from leading points-scorer Ezra Hinchliffe with a penalty goal.

For Saturday’s match, coach Lee Douglas has named a squad which sees the return of prop Mark Hopper, who was unavailable last week, but Chapman has not been included.

Tomasz Chadwick, who sustained an ankle ligament injury at Middlesbrough four weeks ago, has yet to recover. Veteran prop Tom Fish, who performed with distinction at first-team level last week, brings his experience to the Vikings this week and is joined by talented young flanker Hayden Ogilvie, who has recovered from concussion.

Only two substitutes have been named for the game at Heath and either Fish or Ogilvie could possibly feature.

Last season Scarborough did the double on Heath winning 18-11 on the road and 19-15 at Silver Royd; Tom Ratcliffe scored all of the points in both games which auger well for Saturday.

However, coached by former Rotherham star Kevin Plant, Heath have never been an easy side to beat on home soil and with players like Hinchliffe and Royal Air Force No8 Ian Downsborough in action the game should be a stern test for Lee Douglas’ charges.

The Vikings take on visitors Sheffield Tigers in a Yorkshire Merit League fixture at Silver Royd; the National League Three second string won 44-38 at Morley last week. kick-off is at 2.15pm.

Scarborough’s women’s team the Valkyries play their second 15-a-side game on Sunday looking to improve on their 29-0 defeat by Barnsley in their inaugural fixture.

The local girls made a real fist of things against a hard-tackling South Yorkshire outfit last Saturday and delighted a big turn-out with their effort, skill and commitment but were out-muscled by an experienced and streetwise side.

When I interviewed skipper Cathy-Ann Myers last week she looked forward to working on the lessons learned from that game in training. Valkryies versus Workington Finches at Silver Royd kicks off at 2.30pm on Sunday.