Scarborough RUFC fight back to earn dramatic opening 24-24 derby draw at Driffield
Scarborough made the short trip to Kelleythorpe to take on local rivals Driffield, to start their North One East campaign, and earned a 24-24 draw in a dramatic clash.
It was the visitors who an early lead when Tom Ratcliffe kicked a long-range penalty.
From the restart Driffield enjoyed a long spell of possession but the visitors should have extended their lead on 13 minutes. Ratcliffe launched a huge downfield kick that bobbled into touch a couple of yards from the Driffield line.
From the resulting line-out Scarborough worked the ball along the line and were awarded a penalty close to the host's line. Jordy Wakeham was cynically blocked as he took a quick tap penalty which saw the referee brandish a yellow card to Jack Sowersby
Rather than running the ball Scarborough opted to kick the penalty but Ratcliffe dragged it wide of the posts.
Driffield took the lead on 25 minutes with an unconverted try, Matthew Jenkinson going over from close range after a series of short drives.
The home side dominated possession but were kept at bay by a solid Scarborough defence.
As half time approached Scarborough had a rare spell of possession deep inside the Driffield half but the host's snuffed out the danger and broke quickly and only a last-ditch tackle from Ratcliffe stopped them extending their lead.
It was an eventful end to the half, on 40 minutes Driffield extended their lead with another unconverted try. Jenkinson again going over from close-range.
From the restart Ratcliffe stole the ball and galloped clear to score under the posts and made no mistake with the conversion to level the game 10-10.
Already well into added time there was still time for Driffield to score their third try.
Will Rennard dropped the restart and Ben Johnson raced clear to score between the posts, James Watts kicking the conversion to make it 17-10 to the hosts.
The second half started very much like the first half with Driffield enjoying large spells of possession and the Scarborough defence holding firm.
Shortly before the hour mark the visitors were level when Aaron Wilson crashed over the corner. Ratcliffe added the extra's with a brilliant kick from the touchline.
Scarborough were visibly tiring and Driffield could sense the game was there for the taking.
The Driffield pack dominated the scrum and they threatened the Scarborough line time and time again but the visitors defence refused to break. Handling errors were costing Scarborough on the few occasions they mounted an attack.
As the screw turned something had to give and it was the Scarborough defence was finally breached on 78 minutes. Watts dances through a couple of challenges to score by the posts. He duly kicked the conversion to make it 24-17.
Scarborough looked dead and buried and when the restart was again fumbled the hosts broke dangerously and another try-saving tackle kept Scarborough in the game.
Somehow Scarborough regrouped and mounted a late charge but when they knocked on just inside the Driffield half it looked like their chance had gone, but they were not to be denied. The Scarborough pack put in their best scrummage of the game and forced a penalty.
Ratcliffe kicked to touch and with the last play of the game the ball was safely collected from the line-out.
The visitors worked it to the centre of the field before reversing it back to the left where Ratcliffe fed Tom Harrison to go over. It wasn't the easiest of conversions but Ratcliffe held his nerve to tie the score at 24-24.
For long spells Driffield looked, fitter, stronger and more mobile but the Scarborough side just would not give up and their incredible togetherness saw them come away with a draw.
Coach Matty Jones was delighted with his Scarborough side, he said: "The boys worked so hard, to do this in the manner we did was brilliant.
"We had lads making their debuts today, no one gave up and they fought to the very end."
Scarborough: Joe Nellis, Charlie Cartwright, Sam Dawson, Harry Cartwright, Will Rennard, Euan Govier, Drew Govier, Aaron Wilson, Jordy Wakeham, Tom Ratcliffe, Jonty Holloway, Billy Parker, Joe Marshall, Lewis Ward, Connor Ward.
Replacements - Tom Read, Tom Harrison, Phil Watson
Tries - Ratcliffe, Wilson, Harrison
Conversions Ratcliffe (3)
Man of the Match - Tom Ratcliffe - At the heart of everything Scarborough did going forward and also made some crucial tackles.