Scarborough travelled to south Yorkshire with a side disrupted and re-shuffled due to injury and late unavailability and upset the formbooks with a 22-18 win, fronting up to a big Wath pack which has steamrollered its way into promotion contention this season.
However even in the heavy conditions, the home eight failed to subdue a determined visiting side whose cohesion and fitness was the cornerstone of a winning performance in this Yorkshire One clash.
Early honours were even with the home eight looking to grind forward and the visitors holding their own but when play took the visitors up-field and Wath infringed, centre Tom Ratcliffe doled out his punishment with the resulting penalty for a 3-0 lead in the 10th minute.
The lead was short-lived as Wath fullback Tom Quinn levelled with a penalty almost from the restart.
In the conditions and probably for preference, Wath played a 10-man game with the ball rarely getting further than fly-half.
It was obvious why in the 19th minute when the home threes made a hash of a midfield break and the ball was pounced on by an eager visiting backline. A midfield scissors move released wing Matty Young who outstripped the cover to score between the uprights. Ratcliffe added the extras for a 10-3 lead.
The Seasiders had some defending to do in the second quarter as Wath exerted pressure through the forwards and Quinn added his second penalty of the afternoon in the 27th minute.
The final 10 minutes of the half saw the visiting pack hold firm as first they lost flanker Ben Wilson to a knee injury to be replaced by Sam Warren and then prop Nino Cutino who was sin-binned.
Turning round 6-10 adrift Wath continued their war of attrition up front; but with Cutino back on the field, the much vaunted home front row of James Dobson, Dale Harrison and Dean Hardcastle had a real game on their hands.
However when the ball moved away from the forwards the south Yorkshiremen didn’t look so confident and when a loose clearance from defence was fielded by Graeme Jeffrey, the big fullback set off on a surging run before releasing wing Matt Lucas whose perfectly judged cross-field kick found debutante centre Alex Renwick who powered over in the 53rd minute. Racliffe converted for 17-6.
The game was by no means over and the home side redoubled their efforts through the forwards and it was no surprise when No8 and skipper Matt Burrows got the touch on a push-over try on the hour. Quinn reduced the arrears to four points with his kick.
Warren was then yellow-carded and spent the next 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
And having trailed from the start Wath grabbed the lead with 10 minutes to go when lock forward Simon Line was driven over from a rolling maul. Quinn missed the conversion but Wath were 18-17 up.
Quinn should have nudged his side further ahead with eight minutes to go when he missed a penalty chance inside the Scarborough 22 and with the less than five minutes to go Wath had the put-in at a five-metre scrum and went for the push-over; much to their consternation, Scarborough drove them back, they infringed and the chance was gone.
With the thought of losing by a single point following a terrific strength-sapping performance, the visitors gathered their strength for a final effort; pressure in the Wath 22 won a Scarborough five metre scrum which the referee told them would be the last play of the game.
The visiting eight edged toward the line knowing that a mistake spelled defeat and the end of the game.
However, held-up short of the line, they moved the ball blind and Nino Cutino burrowed over to clinch the game at 22-18. Ratcliffe missed the touchline conversion but the game was over.
Coach Jason Lowde had to re-re-shuffle his side after wing Corey Dennis, who was picked at fullback replacing the injured Tom Harrison, was delayed disembarking from a ferry at Hull and Graeme Jeffrey moved to fullback with young Renwick making his debut in the centre; so it wasn’t the best preparation for an important game.
However youngsters Matt Lucas, Matty Young and Renwick did him proud.
Scrum-half Zbynec Schutz on return from international duty had a solid game and fly-half Phil Stewart put in a hard and successful shift.
A totally committed pack of forwards played with cohesion, grit and unwavering commitment with Cutino, Jamie Drayton, Chris Purdy and Sinako Dunywa taking the eye.
Winning such a tight game in the circumstances can only boost confidence for the remainder of the season.
Scarborough: Jeffrey Young Ratcliffe Renwick Lucas Stewart Schutz Cutino Raines Drayton Watson (c) Readman Purdy Wilson Dunywa Subs: Hopper Austen Warren (all used)
Report by Dave Campbell