By Charlie Hopper
Scarborough RUFC fell to a 34-31 defeat against promotion chasing Cleckheaton, despite a spirited late fightback.
Following last weekend’s disappointing defeat at Ilkley, Matty Jones’ side took no time in opening the scoring with an unconverted try in the first minute. The ball was charged down into the path of Euan Govier and the flanker collected to score. The quick start continued, with the home side pinning Cleck into their own half for the next 10 minutes. The visitors, who’ve lost one game in the last 8 matches, levelled the game up at 5-5 in the 14th minute. Their maul picked up momentum and Richard Piper crashed over. The lead was restored just four minutes later courtesy of a well worked move from Scarborough. Tom Makin broke downfield, but his kick over the defence found touch. The lineout was passed in quickly by Dan Boyes, to find Tom Ratcliffe and then find Will Rennard, who scored to the left of the posts. Ratcliffe added the extras for a 12-5 lead. Cleck, once again, hit back and cut through the defence with pace as Jack Marshall finished off a flowing move for 12-10. The slender advantage was stretched further in the 27th minute courtesy of Ratcliffe. The fly-half collected the ball and bundled his way through the tackles to score. Both sides were then reduced to 14 men, with Ed Hopper and Ben Thrower making their way off the pitch for 10 minutes. On the stroke of half-time, the visitors brought the game level. Makin looked to collect the ball, but it bounced away from him and Tom Hainsworth scored for 17-17.
The second half started in lightning fashion with two unanswered tries from the visitors. In the 42nd minute, the ball was worked wide and fly half Dale Breakwell scored in the corner. Just minutes later, a carbon copy of the previous try, but this time Mikey Hayward scoring in the corner to stretch his sides lead to 27-17. The momentum then started to shift, and Scarborough responded with a converted try of their own. Scrum-half Dan Boyes picking up from the back of the ruck and scoring under the posts. With the game nicely poised at 27-24 heading into the final 20 minutes, it was the visitors who wrestled back the advantage. A high tackle on Rennard was missed by the referee and Cleck broke downfield through Hainsworth to score in the corner. The conversion from Breakwell was successful to restore his sides 10-point gap. With head coach Jones on the field, Scarborough then began turning the game on it’s head and found themselves camped on the Cleck line. Ollie Clark’s game was ended early when he picked up a yellow card and the home side took the advantage with both hands. The ball founds it’s way along the line and Joe Marshall collected to score. At 34-31, deep into injury time, Dom Brambani was also shown a yellow card, for a penalty at the ruck. Scarborough went to the corner but couldn’t work their way through the Cleckheaton defence and lost the ball with the final play of the match.
Scarborough are on the road next weekend, with a trip to eighth place Moortown.