Scarborough bounced back from recent disappointments to run in eight tries in the convincing 48-11 defeat of Knottingley at Silver Royd.
With leading points scorer Tom Ratcliffe missing, the Seasiders drafted in Zbynek Schutz on the right wing, with Phil Stewart coming in for Ratcliffe in the centre and Graeme Jeffrey and Tom Harrison at fullback and flyhalf respectively. And from the start the back division looked potent; left wing Corey Dennis almost slipped through on the left flank before being hauled back by a suspiciously high tackle that went unpunished. However, when Scarborough strayed offside just inside their own half in the 2nd minute, visiting fly-half Steve Rocket nudged his side 3-0 ahead with his long distance effort.
Great work with the home forwards and backs combining saw prop Nino Cutino make a break to take his side into the visitor’s 22 before the ball was recycled for Dennis to outstrip the Knottingley wide defence and sprint over in the 6th minute. Harrison just shaved the upright with his touchline conversion attempt but Scarborough led 5-3.
Skipper Phil Watson’s men looked to move the ball at every opportunity but at this point in the game their ambition was not matched by their execution. However great penetrative running from Jeffrey and particularly Harrison was getting across the gain line; and when good work by Jeffrey and Schutz on Scarborough’s right flank took play into the visitors’ 22 and Cutino was halted short of the line; fellow prop Luke Raines up in support muscled over for the second try of the game in the 22nd minute. Harrison failed to convert but Scarborough led 10-3.
The men from Silver Royd were well on top and should have scored in the 27th minute but Cutino dropped the ball with the line at his mercy; however it was only a pleasure delayed for the Silver Royd faithful as Harrison got the touch on a kick through and added the extras from the touchline for a 17-3 lead in the 34th minute.
Knottingley nearly hauled a score back when ex-Morley skipper Craig Field brushed aside a posse of Scarborough tacklers before eventually being dragged down on the home 22. However a Scarborough infringement saw Rocket reduce the arrears to eleven points on the stroke of half time.
If Lowde’s charges appeared to have lost some of their early season dynamism in the first 40 minutes they certainly found it after the break; when leading 17-6, they looked to attack from all over the paddock and great runs by Harrison, Cutino, Chris Purdy, Ben Wilson and Corey Dennis started to prise open the visitor’s defence.
Forward pressure on the Knottingley line in the 50th minute saw a visiting pack in disarray concede a penalty try as they were driven back over their own line. Harrison converted from in front of the posts for 24-6.
Slick Scarborough handling then saw a procession of tries with three touchdowns in nine minutes; first Cutino drove over in the 56th minute following a run by Jeffrey which led to an attacking scrum; then Harris pounced onto a loose ball to gallop over in the corner on the hour, before a great build-up Jeffrey, Harrison and Dennis took play into the visitors’ 22 where they infringed.
From the resulting penalty then catch-and-drive, Cutino drove over for his second try of the match in the 65th minute. Harrison’s conversion brought the score to 41-6. The introduction of Matty Young added pace to an already fizzing back line and the youngster had another promising game in a Scarborough shirt.
The Seasiders hadn’t finished yet and some great handling between forwards and backs took play deep into Knottingley territory where Harrison broke a tackle, chipped a deft kick off the edge of his boot and outstripped a wrong-footed defence to get the touch for his hat-trick. He added the extras for 48-6.
The visitors never gave up the ghost and following an extended period on the Scarborough line they got a consolation try when Rocket saw a gap and released left wing Keith Brown to score in the corner. Rocket’s unsuccessful conversion attempt was the last kick of the match.
Coach Jason Lowde will have taken many positives from this performance; three first half tries when the side were struggling for fluency were followed by a further five after the break when they certainly found it.
Three of those tries came from a live-wire Tom Harrison who had been moved to familiar territory at number ten for this game. Returning from South Africa Nino Cutino was pick of the forwards and grabbed a couple of tries whilst skipper Phil Watson had a great ‘go forward’ game. And on a different tack, the Scarborough front row were excessively penalized by Mr Tovey who as far as I could see totally misread what was happening at the set scrums as the visiting prop kept taking the scrum down due to pressure from Luke Raines.
Scarborough: Jeffrey Schutz Stewart Parker Dennis Harrison Rollinson Cutino Williams Raines Watson Hoggard Purdy Wilson Warren Substitutes: Taylor Austen Young (all used)