Scarborough RUFC crush Blackburn to keep Twickenham dream alive

editorial image

Scarborough blew away the challenge of high-flying Blackburn and marched into the semi-finals of the Intermediate Cup at a packed and passionate Silver Royd with a 26-0 victory.

A powerful pack performance was the cornerstone of the Seasiders’ best outing of the season, running in four tries without reply against a side which has scored over 1,000 points so far this season.

This was undoubtedly Scarborough’s best outing of the season. They kept to the basics playing with concentration and purpose.

Dave Campbell

Playing in bright sunshine with a stiff north-easterly wind behind them, the men from Lancashire made early inroads but lacked penetration against a bristling Scarborough defensive line.

Against a bigger side, Scarborough accepted the physical challenge and their ‘in your face’ attitude had the visitors rattled especially when Paul Taylor joined the fray at tight-head in the 11th minute.

Most of the game was being played 10 metres either side of halfway as the forward sparring continued, but slick Blackburn handling on the home 10-metre line in the 14th minute released winger Matt Hughes to power down the right touchline into the Scarborough 22.

However some great cover tackling snuffed out the threat and the chance was gone.

Scarborough were winning the back-row battle and Chapman, Ogilvie and Else were suffocating the visitors’ mid-field efforts. Blackburn employed the boot of fly-half Sam Morgan to make ground looking to turn the Scarborough defence but his efforts rarely troubled the Seasiders’ back three of Harry Domett, Graeme Jeffery and Joe Marshall who counterattacked from deep.

Tom Harrison’s kicking continued to trouble the visitors and when he set up an attacking five-metre line-out in the 28th minute, the home pack executed a perfect catch and drive, and prop Mark Hopper was driven over for the opening try.

Harrison added the extras with a remarkable touchline conversion into the wind for a 7-0 lead.

With Scarborough having a stranglehold up front and in midfield, Blackburn had great difficulty getting their much-vaunted back division into action and although the visiting threes appeared powerful they were often muscled out of it by the home defence.

With half-time beckoning a bustling line-break by centre Billy Parker was taken on by skipper Tom Ratcliffe.

The big centre was tackled inches short of the line and from the ensuing ruck Taylor powered over between the uprights. Harrison converted for a 14-0 half-time lead.

Blackburn made a positive start to the second 40 minutes and surprisingly marched the home eight back at a couple of early scrums but couldn’t sustain the momentum and lost their foothold in Scarborough territory when a clearance from Harrison took them back deep into their own half.

The visitors continued to play with purpose and made some progress into the Scarborough half thanks to some elusive running by their man-of-the-match scrum-half Sean Hall.

However their execution let them down so many times and when a promising attack floundered on the Scarborough 22, Harrison intercepted a sloppy pass and was only caught on the visitors’ 10-metre line.

Blackburn looked to run from far too deep and when they were squeezed in midfield, invariably lost possession. From some good work in the loose by the indefatigable Eamon Chapman the ball was moved to Harrison 35 metres out, his superb looping run into the 22 saw the big number seven released to power over in the 52nd minute. Harrison missed his only conversion of the afternoon but Scarborough led 19-0.

There was still plenty of fight left in the Lancastrians and unfortunately it spilled over near the touchline close to halfway on the hour mark.

However the referee Tom Doig sorted it out with calm authority and the handbags were stowed away for the remainder of the game.

With Jordi Wakeham on for Robinson at scrum-half, the Blackburn defence werer given a few more problems to solve and had their hands full containing his probing runs.

Having almost created a try with a penetrating break with a few minutes to go, Wakeham executed the coup de grace with a rapier-like dart into the 22, releasing Chapman for his second try on 80 minutes. Harrison converted to get the party started.

This was undoubtedly Scarborough’s best outing of the season. They kept to the basics playing with concentration and purpose.

The pack had a great day and bossed almost everything but wobbled for a bit when the front row was reshuffled.

However they won the battle of the breakdown and ruled the line-out where Mikey Readman dominated. Pack-leader Nick Ingham was outstanding and the back-row was immense.

The Seasiders knew where the game would be won and dominated the tackle area, they had the visiting midfield in a straightjacket for most of the game.

Behind them Tom Harrison was in sparkling form ably assisted by Robinson and Wakeham.

Parker and Graeme Jeffrey were the pick of the threes in what was a real team effort.