Malton and Norton
Scarborough - 1st XV
By Rob Hazledine
Having recorded an encouraging bonus point win on the opening day of the season, Scarborough travelled to the Gannock to take on local rivals Malton and Norton RUFC in the first local derby of the season. Injuries and late withdrawals necessitated a reshuffle of both the forward pack and the back division with youngsters Richard Sharp and Dan Boyes both making the starting XV. Prop Mikey Whitton made a welcome return on the bench.
There was a poignant moment as both sets of players lined up before KO, along with supporters to observe a minute’s silence to commemorate the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Credit should also go to M&N who pledged to donate part of the gate receipts to charity.
The match kicked off with the inexperienced Scarborough pack holding their own against a more settled Malton unit. Unfortunately, despite early pressure, Scarborough were unable to put points on the board and after poor discipline cost field position, Malton scored the first try of the game after attacking the wide channels from a well drilled lineout. Wing Josh Wetherill crossing for a 5-0 lead.
Following the restart, Scarborough got back on the front foot with strong runs from centre Makin and captain Govier getting them over the gain line. A Malton ruck infringement gave fly half Tom Ratcliffe the chance to reduce the deficit with a well taken penalty kick to make the score 5-3.
By now the bigger and more experienced Malton scrum was well on top, and Scarborough were on the wrong side of the referee’s whistle. Repeated infringements allowed Maton to kick for touch deep in Scarborough territory and from the resulting lineout another backs move created space for wing Wetherill to cross out wide for his second try of the match. The conversion was missed again but Malton were threatening to pull away at 10-3.
With the scrum stabilised after the introduction of Whitton and the first half drawing to a close, Scarborough launched a thrilling counter attack from deep in their own half. A cynical penalty conceded by Malton back row Tom Lowry prevented the try scoring opportunity but Ratcliffe stepped up to kick the resulting penalty to bring Scarborough within 4 points at 10-6. Lowry was sent to the sin bin.
At this stage, with a numerical advantage Scarborough should have been able to push for the lead, but disappointingly with the last play of the first half Malton stole a lineout, moved the ball wide quickly and Wetherill turned provider for full back Fothergill to score another try. Malton’s kicker continued his out of sorts afternoon with a further missed conversion attempt to leave the score 15-6 at half time.
The second half started with Scarborough making the early running and enjoying a good spell of territory and possession. Good work from Marshall and again Govier created momentum before hooker Rich Scales picked a terrific line off Tom Harrison, breaking the first line of defence and charging in under the posts. Ratcliffe added the extra points.
The pressure continued with strong Scarborough defence keeping the hosts on the back foot and struggling to get out of their own half. A further penalty opportunity came along and the trusty boot of Ratcliffe kicked Scarborough into a tight 16-15 lead with 20 minutes to go.
Unfortunately, despite a brave effort from the young Scarborough team, Malton were more cohesive and stepped up a gear, with home captain Sam Triffit powering over for a converted try to re-establish their lead. An unfortunate yellow card for replacement wing James Long, given for a deliberate knock on in the tackle meant that Scarborough were down to 14 men and Malton’s greater numbers showed when wing Ben Tenge found space and sauntered over on the left.
Despite the game now seeming beyond them Scarborough never stopped playing and they were rewarded when Ratcliffe intercepted a speculative pass to race over for their second try of the afternoon.
Malton though were too strong for a late comeback and finished the game in style with a try for centre Foan. Both teams finished the match with 14 players as Scales and Angus were yellow carded for a late bout of handbags. Malton ran out worthy winners 36-21.
In a scrappy game, Malton’s outside backs were the pick of their team, while for Scarborough captain Drew Govier was tireless in attack and defence. Both sides will need to improve if they want to contest at the upper reaches of the league this season