Inconsistent Scarborough beaten by rampant Ribblesdale

North Ribblesdale 32-19 Scarborough. Report by Mike Holder.
North Ribblesdale 32-19 Scarborough. Report by Mike Holder.
  • Scarborough start strong but rampant hosts battle back for 32-19 win
  • Bizarre series of events leads to defeat on the road at Settle
  • Silver Royd men will need to improve to pull off cup shock against high-flying Blackburn next Saturday

Scarborough made the long trip to Settle to play North Ribblesdale and although the home team needed three pieces of good fortune to overcome the Seasiders, they were full value for their bonus point win.

Scarborough once again showed their full range of strengths, weaknesses, skills and ineptitude in one game that has led the coaches, management and fans into premature ageing.

Previous skipper, Phil Watson, who took control of the team in Lee Douglas’s absence, physically greyed over the 80 minutes experience.

Changes were made to the team as Tom Chadwick and Ian Williams dropped out through injury, so Graeme Jeffrey moved back to full-back with Joe Marshall coming back onto the right wing and Taylor Smith moving to the front row with James Leach making his first start for the club at blindside.

Jordan Wakeham, Jessie Macdonald and Hayden Ogilvie made up the replacements.

Playing on a pitch that is always heavy with a pronounced sideways slope, there was no indication in the first 20 minutes of the disaster ahead.

From the kick-off Scarborough dominated and after 20 minutes were 19 points ahead, scoring three tries, with two converted by Tom Harrison.

This was achieved by simple, effective rugby with the ball being taken up by Billy Parker and the forwards, particularly Wesley Langkilde and Eamon Chapman, released quickly and when the time was right putting it wide for the backs to use the space.

This gave Kiwi Harry Domett space and time at the top of the slope and although he was hampered by the conditions he inevitable made ground, putting pressure on the opposition defence.

Martin Robinson was to the fore in this period, using the ball intelligently from number nine and pressuring the opposition defensively.

After nine minutes Tom Ratcliffe made a nice break, putting Jeffrey through for the first try converted from the touchline by Harrison.

The second try came just a few minutes later when after a series of drive, Langkilde drove over under the posts and again Harrison converted.

The rugby from Scarborough was delightful and once again after a series of drives, skipper Ratcliffe was released to score in the top corner. This time Harrison just failed to convert.

The first piece of good fortune for North Ribblesdale came after 20 minutes when defending in their own 22-metres, their fly-half took a clearance kick which he sliced badly.

It agonisingly fell into the hands of the left wing, wrong footing everyone, who ran 70 metres before releasing the Ribblesdale full-back to score a converted try.

This galvanised the home team, who then had a sustained period of ball and pressure which Scarborough failed to defend appropriately.

The visitors reverted to the weaker aspects of their play by sitting back and not communicating well enough defensively.

Stepping back and attacking the inside channel always caused problems to the Scarborough defence and this pressure inevitably told with Ribblesdale’s excellent right wing scoring and unconverted try to make the score 19-12 after 33 minutes.

Ribblesdale were now on the charge and showed why they are in such a good run of form by camping on the Scarborough line.

To the visitors credit they defended magnificently, even with Jeffrey being yellow carded for allegedly moving deliberately offside, and held out to half-time with the score at 19-12 to Scarborough.

The first period of the second half became scrappy with Ribblesdale in the ascendency and four minutes into the half scored a simple try, passing down the back line for the right wing to score, a try which should have been defended against but reduced the home side’s arrears to 19-17.

Ribblesdale now had a period when they were giving away too many penalties which Scarborough used well to clear their lines.

Using the possession well from the resulting line-outs, Scarbrough gradually began to come back into the game and press for the Ribblesdale line.

Fifteen minutes into the second half Ribblesdale took the lead through their second piece of bizarre good fortune.

Scarborough were camped on the Ribblesdale line when a Ribblesdale player knocked the ball on and then hacked it on, the referee unfortunately was unsighted and allowed play to continue and it was hacked on all the way to the Scarborough line where Jeffrey touched it down.

Instead of giving a 22-metre drop-out ,the referee awarded a five-metre scrum to Ribblesdale saying Scarborough had carried the ball over the try line.

Four reset scrums later and two penalties resulted in a penalty try to Ribblesdale which was converted for a 24-19 scoreline.

Despite losing Langkilde with a back injury, Scarborough came back again and although they had good territory their play in attack became ragged and desperate. Too many wild passes, too much over complication and resorting to individualistic and not team ethos resulted in the pressure generally being wasted.

An example of this led to Ribblesdale’s final piece of good fortune when a Scarborough player in contact threw a wild offload which the Ribblesdale left wing intercepted and ran the length of the field to score an unconverted try.

The score of 29-19 meant that although the game was lost Scarborough could still pick up two bonus points by scoring a converted try.

At this point however, Scarborough were in disarray and became a group of individuals with no cohesion, losing line-outs and two five-metre attacking scrums added to their woes, which were compounded when they conceded a reversed penalty for back chat to make the final score 32-19 to the hosts.

North Ribblesdale have eased their relegation worries by scoring 24 out of 25 possible points in their last few games and are the current form team.

Scarborough will reflect on what could have been with a more consistent performance, not only in this game but the whole season.

The rugby the team can produce is outstanding but until more of the senior players give better direction on the pitch the results will be hit and miss.

Next week Scarborough face Blackburn in the quarter-finals of the National Intermediate Cup, looking to pull off a shock win against the rampant visitors from Lancashire.