Scarborough maintain form with bonus point win at Heath

Scarborough RUFC won 28-10 on the road at Heath. Report by Dave Campbell.
Scarborough RUFC won 28-10 on the road at Heath. Report by Dave Campbell.

Scarborough continued their Yorkshire One revival with a four-try, bonus point win at Halifax-based Heath RUFC.

Apart from a blip just after the break, the Seasiders bossed the game with all four touchdowns coming from their dominant forward pack.

Playing up the gentle gradient, the visitors had to withstand early pressure deep in their own half; however good work at the tackle area turned over Heath possession and fly-half Tom Harrison’s clearance took play deep into home territory.

Scarborough’s pack dominated the first quarter exchanges with a cohesive front five performance at the scrum and line-out with the back row of Taylor Smith, Matthew Else and Paul White committed at the breakdown.

The Seasiders had a chance to get some points on the board in the 9th minute when the Heath defensive line crept offside. However Harrison pulled his penalty wide.

On the sticky surface both sides struggled to run the ball; however full-back Corey Dennis and fly-half Tom Harrison looked to attack from deep and on occasions made headway to take play deep into the Heath half.

Scarborough got their driving game going and were shunting the home eight back at a rate which alarmed the home support.

And following a yellow card for Heath Prop Will Sellars in the 22nd minute, the visiting pack drove over with number eight Matthew Else getting the touch. Harrison added the extras for a 7-0 lead in the 23rd minute.

Heath looked to get into the game from the re-start but poor handling and unforced errors saw them struggle against an in-your-face visiting fifteen. Scarborough prop Jesse Macdonald was sin-binned in the 33rd minute retaliating to a punch from a Heath player after the ball had gone.

The West Yorkshiremen took advantage of their field position and laid siege to the Scarborough line before muscular defence turned the ball over and skipper Tom Ratcliffe cleared to half-way with his relieving kick.

The half ended with Scarborough scrum-half Jordan Wakeham scything through a gap and chipping up the right touchline. Unfortunately his kick had too much weight and the half ended with the visitors deep in Heath territory.

Turning round seven points to the good Scarborough appeared, not for the first time this season, to nod off following the interval and conceded 10 points in the space of a couple of minutes; a penalty by Heath fly-half Ezra Hinchliffe in the 42nd minute was followed by a try two minutes later when the ball was moved wide on the visitors 22 and winger Rob Thackray scampered over. Hinchliffe converted for a 10-7 lead in the 44th minute.

From a position where they struggled to get out of their own half the west Yorkshiremen now held a lead which hardly reflected what had gone before.

It was a short-lived position and it took only four minutes for the visitors to regain their advantage, winning an attacking lineout and driving over with Lock Mikey Readman getting the touch.

Harrison landed his second conversion of the afternoon for 14-10.

The visiting pack was now controlling every facet of the forward exchanges with the front row outstanding, particularly hooker Ian Williams, whose line-out throwing and work at the scrummage augmented his fitness and mobility which has improved so much this season.

Behind them lock Nick Ingham, veteran Matthew Else and Taylor Smith were making their presence felt in every sense of the word.

Heath defended with determination and despite their pressure the visitors struggled to get the score that would have reflected their dominance.

Harrison missed a penalty which would have given them some breathing space in the 65th minute but their application and industry was eventually rewarded when once again they drove over in the 72nd minute with a delighted Taylor Smith the man who came up with the ball. Harrison converted for 21-10.

And skipper Tom Ratcliffe’s men won a deserved bonus point and completed a great day at the office when they drove the West Yorkshiremen over their own line for the fourth time in the 77th minute with Nick Ingham getting the try his hard-working performance merited. Tom Harrison converted for 28-10.

The Seasiders could have improved on that score-line with the last play of the match when Yorkshire under-18 winger Joe Marshall got his fingertips to a loose pass in midfield on the Heath 10-metre line, but couldn’t make the interception with the line begging.

Coach Lee Douglas must be mightily pleased with his charges after this performance, for except for a couple of early second half minutes, they dominated possession and territory and were in the ‘driving’ seat for almost all of the game, particularly in the forwards.

It wasn’t really a day for running rugby but the backs played their part with Ratcliffe, Graeme Jeffrey, Harrison, Wakeham and Corey Dennis dangerous throughout.

The wings never really saw much of the ball in the conditions but Marshall was always a threat in possession and solid in defence.