Scarborough’s enigmatic Yorkshire One campaign continued with an 16-8 home loss to Wath in a game which followed the pattern of several others this season with a promising first half topped off with a try straight out of the top drawer followed by a shapeless and at times erratic second 40 minutes in which a tidy Wath outfit took control, scored two tries and deservedly took the points.
The Seasiders made much of the early running with centre Benji Cottle and wingman Tom Ratcliffe posing a threat to a rather ‘hefty’ looking Wath side and when the south Yorkshiremen infringed 30 metres out, fly-half Tom Harrison kicked the penalty for a 3-0 lead in the 4th minute.
The early sparring was all in the middle of the paddock where the visitors knew they were in a game with ‘big hits’ from forwards Nick Ingham, Charlie Hoggard Chris Purdy and Matty Else stopping ball carriers in their tracks. However it was tit-for-tat stuff as Cottle was also heavily marked.
The problem was that in the absence of ball carriers like the injured Nino Cutino and club skipper Phil Watson, Scarborough just could get over the gain-line even with their bigger forwards and consequently lacked penetration. However they kept their shape and always looked a threat. A big bonus was the vast improvement in their lineout from the previous week’s defeat at Pontefract giving them more first phase possession.
It looked like the game may be abandoned when referee Graeme Hall tripped over a Wath player on the ground and needed prolonged attention on the field for his injured ankle. However after the application of strapping from both physios he was able to continue.
All of the first half excitement came in the closing minutes when, following an equalizing penalty from Wath fly-half Andy Appleyard in the 38th minute, the Seasiders scored an absolute peach of a try. A shimmy on the 10-metre line saw Cottle leave a posse of defenders behind and surge into the Wath 22 where great hands by Hoggard released flanker Blake Nightingale to power over on the stroke of half-time. The conversion was missed but Scarborough led 8-3 at the break.
Scarborough kicked off the second half and set up camp just outside the Wath 22 but not for the first time in the game they infringed and Appleyard hoofed the kick deep into home territory. Wath brought their heavier forwards into the game offloading to them in the loose and looking to them to break tackles and get across the gain-line.
It was exhausting work defending this but some crunching tackles from the back five forwards augmented by centre Jan Teiber, scrum-half Zybnec Schutz and Tom Harrison kept the home side in the game.
However No8 Else was shown a yellow card for an infringement when defending on his own line in the 52nd minute.
The south Yorkshiremen made their numerical advantage count at a five metre scrum wide on visitors’ right when No8 Martin Balshaw picked up and drove over near the corner flag to tie the scores at 8-8 in the 58th minute; Appleyard missed the touchline conversion but slotted a penalty on the hour to nudge his side 11-8 ahead for the first time in the game.
Trailing by only three points Scarborough fought back with Matty Young, Cottle, Schutz, Nightingale, Purdy, Else and fullback Graeme Jeffrey in the thick of the action.
However, too often their indiscipline let them down as they conceded penalties around the tackle area and conceded territory. Their line kicking left much to be desired also as too often clearing kicks found the visiting back three who counter-attacked from deep.
It looked as if skipper Harrison’s men had at least earned a bonus point as the game drew to a close but following pressure just inside the home 22 Appleyard went on an arcing run past a tiring defence to cross to the left of the uprights in the 79th minute. The big Wath fly-half surprising missed the conversion but Wath deserved their 16-8 win.