Scarborough see off Morpeth
Scarborough RUFC delighted their supporters with their ability to adapt to life in North One East with a 22-17 home win.
Scarborough RUFC continued to delight their supporters with their ability to adapt to life in North One East with a 2217 home win over Morpeth. They shocked the joint leagueleaders heading into the game with a gritty muck and nettles performance at Silver Royd to win another close-fought nailbiter and move up to fourth in the North One East standings.
A close-fought battle in the first quarter of the game was surprisingly scoreless, although Scarborough had to rely on some excellent defence to keep the powerful North East side at bay.
However, when the visitors won an attacking line-out in the Scarborough half, they drove to the line.
The Seasiders defended doggedly, but when scrumhalf Jack Elliott whipped the ball infield from a ruck, centre Fraser Boldy powered over between the uprights in the 26th minute and fly-half Ben Hornby added the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Although the try followed a period of Morpeth pressure, Scarborough were nonetheless shocked at the reverse and came storming back.
Driving play down their right flank appeared to have stalled just outside the visitors’ 22 when a slick pass from fly-half Tom Ratcliffe released James Perrett.
The Aussie full-back stepped on the gas to out-pace the visiting defenders and touchdown to the right of the uprights in the 29th minute.
Ratcliffe converted to level the scores at 7-7.
Skipper Matty Jones’ men took control and whereas they had struggled with their ball retention early in the half they now dominated in midfield with centres Billy Parker and Matty Young excelling.
The Scarborough pack are a mobile unit these days and hard running at the visiting defence by Sam Dawson, Alexis Core, skipper Jones and a dynamic back five began to create space.
A searing break by Ratcliffe from just inside the Morpeth half saw the big number 10 cut a swath through the visiting midfield before executing an inch-perfect grubber kick on the run for Perrett to glide through, gather and score in the 32nd minute.
Ratcliffe again kicked the extra two for a 14-7 lead.
And the half ended with a further try on the stroke of half-time when, having won ruck ball to the right of the uprights, it was moved swiftly wide and flanker Aaron Wilson bustled through to touch down.
Ratcliffe missed the touchline conversion but Scarborough led 19-7 at the break.
Although Scarborough led by three tries to one, the second half promised to be as abrasive and attritional as the first and so it turned out to be.
The Seasiders won an early second-half penalty and kicked to touch in the visitors’ 22 but lost possession from the resulting line-out.
Words must have been exchanged in the Morpeth half-time talk and the Northumbrians looked sharper at the breakdown than they had done in the second quarter.
In the 50th minute fullback Jake McKay, up in support, crossed for a try Ben Hornby failed to convert but it was game-on at 19-12 to the hosts.
An absorbing battle ensued with no quarter given or asked for by either side.
The Seasiders defended with gusto and concentration with half-backs Jordan Wakeham and Ratcliffe excelling and some massive defensive work by the pack, particularly lock Tom Hicks.
Ratcliffe kicked a penalty goal in the 59th minute to stretch the lead to 22-12 but 10 points looked by no means to be a winning margin with a quarter of the game to go.
And following toe-to-toe stuff late in the game, the visitors eventually crossed the Scarborough whitewash at the death, this time winger Sam Hornby touching down.
Brother Ben failed to convert and Scarborough were pulling up the drawbridge at 22-17.
Morpeth looked to keep possession from the re-start, as had the ball gone dead, the game would have been over.
However, the visiting ball carrier was bundled into touch on halfway and Scarborough had won a game which was compulsive viewing from start to finish.
North One East is a strong league from top to bottom and although their playing resources are thin, Scarborough’s young side play for each other with skill and commitment and their team spirit was palpable in a tough, uncompromising game.
Aaron Wilson crashes over the Morpeth whitewash just before half-time in Scarborough’s 22-17 win at Silver Royd PICTURES BY ANDY STANDING
Scarborough’s man of the match Tom Hicks is felled