W 29 - 19
Scarborough - 1st XV
By Dave Campbell
Scarborough picked-up from where they left-off before the festive break with a 29-19 bonus-point win on the road at in-form Cleckheaton in the first game of 2019.
A break from the kick-off by stand-in skipper Matt Dawson took play deep into home territory and a grubber kick through from fly-half Tom Ratcliffe found Jonty Holloway who crossed in the corner; however the young winger’s effort was disallowed as he was judged to have been in front of the kicker.
Cleckheaton grabbed the lead in the 7th minute from a penalty taken by fly-half Dale Breakwell; however it was short-lived as the visitors struck back almost immediately when from a Tom Hicks turnover, centre Matty Young sent Fullback Jimmy Perrett in at the corner in the 9th minute for 5-3; Ratcliffe failed to convert.
And it looked like Perrett had grabbed his second touchdown in the 16th minute when he dived in at the corner following slick handling by the Scarborough backs; however the referee adjudged he had failed to ground the ball and his effort was disallowed.
End to end stuff ensued with no quarter given or asked for and the Seasiders defended with determination in their own 22 with lock Cade Robinson taking the eye with his tackling efforts; however Cleckheaton were awarded a penalty and Breakwell slotted it to nudge his side 6-5 ahead in the 25th minute.
From a solid scrum on the Cleckheaton ten metre line the ball was moved to Perrett who dashed down the blind-side before releasing No8 Ben Martin to power over in the 37th minute. Ratcliffe was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt but Scarborough led 10-6. The Seasiders then managed to have Euan Govier and Aaron Wilson sin-binned for offences seen only by the referee.
Leading 10-6 and down to thirteen men the Seasiders gave as good as they got at the start of the second half and stretched their lead in the 51st minute when replacement centre Billy Parker released Perrett who left the Cleckheaten defence for dead and scored between the uprights. Ratcliffe converted for a 17-6 lead.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon came on the hour when 51-year-old prop Tom Fish a club legend, came on as a front row replacement. Scarborough had some defending to do on their line and another huge tackle from Robinson turned the ball over and Ratcliffe cleared his lines.
The west Yorkshiremen turned the screw on the Scarborough five metre line but knocked-on over the try-line; quick-thinking scrum-half Jordy Wakeham snapped up the loose ball and launched a Howitzer-like clearance from behind his own line and cleared the high-line of defenders as Scarborough streamed out of defence. Perrett gathered on halfway, fed wing Joe Marshall who in turn released Wakeham to race away and score in the 69th minute to stretch the visitors’ lead to 22-6.
Cleckheaton replied with a third Breakwell penalty to reduce the arrears at 22-9 before Scarborough lock Tom Hicks was yellow carded much to the bemusement of both sides before the home side scored their first try of the game in the 77th minute to cut the deficit to eight points at 22-14.
True to the seesaw nature of the game Scarborough piled on the pressure in the home 22 and when Cleckheaton centre Mike Swetman was caught in possession and had the ball ripped from him by a couple of Scarborough forwards, flanker Euan Govier bustled through to score between the posts in the 80th minute; Ratcliffe added the extras for a 29-14 lead.
The game wasn’t quite over, as from the restart Scarborough were slow to react to the west Yorkshiremen’s grub kick through the middle which was picked up by Swetman and taken into the visitors’ 22. Three phases later and Cleckheaton scored wide on the left to reduce the arrears to ten points; not enough for a losing bonus point.
Scarborough won this hard-fought game with a combination of solid defence and rapier-sharp counter attacking. Defensively their young back row of Drew and Euan Govier plus No8 Ben Martin suffocated much of Cleckheaton’s attacking intent whilst dynamic second rows Hicks and Robinson’s tackling was fearsome but fair. Their back division was alert and inventive and five tries in such a close game away from home speaks volumes of the team’s attacking intent.
Tries: perrett x 2, martin, wakeham, e.govier
Conversions: ratcliffe x 2
Tries: x 2
Penalties: breakwell x 3
Scarborough: perrett holloway young wilson marshall ratcliffe wakeham dawson (capt) williams cutino robinson hicks d.govier e.govier martin Substitutes: tom fish billy parker luke brown
Scarborough News "Man of the Match": cade robinson
Cade was omnipresent in attack and defence but his hard and legal tackling provided a plethora of turnovers which produced so many attacking opportunities against a bigger home pack.