Scarborough narrowly beaten by league leaders Doncaster

Tom Harrison tries to kick-start a Scarborough assault on the line in their 16-14 defeat against Doncaster Phoenix. Pictures: Andy Standing
Tom Harrison tries to kick-start a Scarborough assault on the line in their 16-14 defeat against Doncaster Phoenix. Pictures: Andy Standing

For the second home game running Scarborough staged a stirring second half fight-back to turn round a half-time deficit, this time against league-leaders Doncaster Phoenix but once again conceded a late try to lose the game in injury time.

Phoenix came to Silver Royd on the back of a five game unbeaten start to the season and looked the part with a big pack of forwards and a muscular back division.

However, Scarborough made the early running and when the visitors crept offside in the fifth minute they conceded a penalty; Tomasz Chadwick missed the kick.

Honours were pretty even in the early exchanges with hard running Phoenix centres Andy Ellis and Mark Steadman augmented by fly-half Ben Millar looking to muscle their way through the middle.

However terrific defence from Hayden Ogilvie, Eamon Chapman, Matty Else, Joe Marshall and centre Billy Parker for the Seasiders saw to it that most of the action was in midfield.

A slick three-quarters move involving Chadwick, Wakeham, full-back Tom Harrison and the ebullient Harry Domett took Scarborough almost to the line where they won an attacking five metre line-out.

However superb Doncaster defence on their own line against the ensuing catch-and-drive prevented what appeared a certain try for Scarborough in the 17th minute.

The visitors demonstrated how to use this move to effect three minutes later when following a penalty into the corner, they executed the perfect catch-and-drive and No8 Ryan Peacey went over for the opening score of the game. Fly-half Miller failed to convert.

Although a smaller unit, the cohesive Scarborough pack dominated the set scrums winning the first against the head and executed several good driving mauls; however as the second quarter progressed Doncaster brought their own driving game into play but the Seasiders stuck to their guns and terrific work by Chapman and Ogilvie blunted this method of attack and the visitors made no further progress before the break.

Doncaster made a good start to the second half camping in Scarborough territory and when a home player failed to roll away after the tackle, fly-half Miller stretched the visitors lead to 8-0 with the penalty in the 48th minute.

Scarborough had looked to put up a lot of high-balls for the first hour of the game but their execution negated so much of their efforts as many of the kicks went straight to their opponents; so they looked to move the ball wide in the final quarter, bringing their most potent back Harry Domett into play.

The elusive Kiwi flyer has a huge engine and strength in his upper body and the visiting defence found him a handful. A terrific Domett run down the left flank took the Seasiders deep into the visitors 22 but when fly-half Miller took him out with a flying charge to the ribs all hell broke out.

After the dust had settled Miller was sin-binned and the physical south Yorkshiremen appeared much chastened and somewhat subdued.

And with new back row Taylor Smith on for Else, the Scarborough fight-back started from there; some sleight of hand by Chadwick released skipper Tom Ratcliffe, who galloped down the right flank before cutting in to ground under the posts in the 62nd minute. Chadwick added the extras to reduce the arrears to a single point at 7-8.

However a penalty from full-back Craig Deakin stretched the Phoenix lead to 11-8 in the 67th minute.

Undaunted, the Seasiders came straight back from the re-start and some slick handling wide on the left involving Domett, Harrison, Ratcliffe, Parker and Chadwick saw a certain try prevented by what appeared to be a deliberate knock-on. However a scrum was awarded and quick thinking by Jordan Wakeham saw the young scrum-half dart from the base and go under the posts for a superb opportunist try; his first senior try for the club. Chadwick converted to see his side lead for the first time in the game at 14-11 in the 72nd minute.

Spurred into action Phoenix came back strongly but solid defence with Chapman, Smith and Ian Williams to the fore, kept play at distance from the home line.

However when Scarborough butchered a five-metre defensive lineout and Ogilvie was yellow carded, Peacey went over from a subsequent line-out in injury time in a carbon-copy of his first try.

Miller failed to convert and Doncaster ran out 16-14 winners.