Archive | August, 2012


30 Aug



Amongst those attending tomorrow night’s annual Scarborough RUFC reunion will be Mr Peter Marshall who will travel from Helmsley to honour his relative*, R.M. Marshall one of the club’s most illustrious members who was the only player to have played as a full England international whilst still turning out for Scarborough. A picture of R.M. (Mike) Marshall has hung at the club for as long as I can remember with his England shirt displayed above the bar at both Newby and Silver Royd and behind these adornments lies a thrilling tale of a relatively short life of achievement, bravery and heroism. Robert Michael Marshall was born on May 18th 1917 at Pontefract the son of Robert and Elizabeth Marshall.  He was educated close to home at Giggleswick School in North Yorkshire where he soon showed his sporting prowess as a cricketer and as a dynamic Rugby second row forward. His family subsequently moved to Cloughton and in 1933 the young Mike joined Scarborough rugby club at the age of 16. Having been an outstanding first teamer at Newby, Mike went up to Oriel College Oxford in 1936 making an immediate impact on Varsity rugby, gaining his first ‘blue’ and a call up from the Barbarians later that year. A further blue and more baa-baas action followed in 1937. By now his prowess at the game brought him to the attention of the England selectors and he won his first cap for England against Ireland in Dublin on February 12th 1938 and scored the try of the match running some fifty yards to score in England’s 36-14 win. During 1938-39 he played five times for England during which time he turned out for Scarborough, Harlequins, Cambridge University and the Barbarians. His rugby career was cut short by the Second World War and after enlisting in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve his meteoric rise in the sporting world was probably eclipsed by his remarkable naval war service.  He served with distinction and courage on motor gun boats (MGB) on a variety of missions including raids on the Dutch Coast, special operations and the first Bonaparte mission where he and his crew  sailed to France to pick up nineteen men, probably downed airmen who had evaded the Germans and were escaping back to England. By then a Lieutenant Commander he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in1944 after ramming and sinking a German E boat which was attacking a convoy; he was later awarded a bar to his DSC.  Four days after the end of the war he and his crew were sent on a mission from Aberdeen to transport Merchant Navy Officers to Gothenburg to arrange the return of three British merchant vessels. His vessel MGB 2002 left base at 8am on Friday 11th May 1945 and was due to arrive in Gothenburg at 8pm the following day. She was never seen again after hitting a mine in the Skagerrak the following day. Ironically the mine had been cut free by a British minesweeper a few days earlier and of the 28 souls on board only two survived.  Robert ‘Mike’ Marshall was not one of them. He was survived by his wife Stella and four year old twin daughters Wendy and Nesbitt. So if you visit the J.M. Guthrie clubhouse and you’re having a look at the club memorabilia I hope this tale of sporting achievement and courage under fire, all packed into 28 short years will perhaps help you understand a little more about the man in the photograph: Robert Michael Marshall DSC. (Research for this story was carried out by Mr Alan Readman with thanks to the Rugby History Society).





27 Aug




Scarborough: 16

Try: Harrison 52ndmin Goals: Conversion: Ratcliffe 52nd min Penalties: Ratcliffe 60, 68 and 76 min

Selby: 9

Goals: Drop-goal: Cruise 9 min Penalties: Cruise Penalties 14 and 35 min

Scarborough gained revenge for last season’s early exit from the Yorkshire Shield at the hands of Selby with A 16-9 victory at Silver Royd thanks to a try from stand-in fullback Tom Harrison and eleven points from the boot of new first choice kicker Tom Ratcliffe.

Both sides looked to run the ball in the early exchanges but although their intentions were good they were too often let down in the execution. Scarborough however had the best of the possession and attacked through the middle and down their left flank where wing Corry Dennis was a real handful. The Seasiders were awarded a couple of early kickable penalties, one in front of the posts, but surprisingly declined them to go for touch. Both moves from the resulting lineouts came to northing thanks to some solid Selby defending and skipper Watson’s men went unrewarded for their pressure. Not so the visitors who came away with points from their first incursion into home territory when 18 year old fly-half Josh Cruise landed a sweetly struck drop-goal following an attacking lineout on Selby’s right for a 3-0 lead in the 9th minute. And the young number ten nudged his side further ahead five minutes later when Scarborough infringed 35 metres out for 6-0.

At this point Scarborough were kicking away far too much possession or were failing to get the distance when attempting to turn the visiting back three. Fortunately the Selby backs lacked pace and their pedestrian attempts to run the ball saw Tom Ratcliffe in the centre intercept a loose pass on halfway and gallop off downfield. He was hauled back by the referee who apparently adjudged another home player offside. Cruise just pulled his long-distance penalty effort wide in the 17th minute. 

Both sides had their moments in the second quarter which was dominated by the boot of Cruise who repeatedly pinned Scarborough back with some superb line kicking. And the youngster stretched his side’s lead to 9-0 in the 35th minute when Scarborough were penalized almost 40 metres from their own line. A largely forgettable first 40 minutes for the Seasiders was almost rescued just before half-time when Dennis made a searing run to take play deep into the visitor’s 22 but the attack broke down and from a poor Scarborough lineout Cruise cleared his lines.

I don’t know what Coach Jason Lowde said at half-time but Scarborough looked a different side after the break. Prop Nino Cutino who was the pick of the bunch in the first half made a storming start to the second forty repeatedly punching holes in the Selby defence and getting over the gain line. Luke Raines was streaming through and new open-side Ben Wilson and back row colleagues Chris Purdy and Phil Austen were getting into the action. It was no surprise therefore when Scarborough scored a well worked try in the 52nd minute; a great break by Cutino saw the ball moved through hands with centre Billy Parker, fly-half Phil Stewart and Ratcliffe involved to send Harrison, up in support, over wide on the Scarborough right. Ratcliffe added the extras from the touchline to reduce the arrears to A couple of points at 7-9.  

With Czech international scrum-half Zbyněk Schütz on for Jake Rollinson and Jaxon Tite replacing Rob Dean at hooker the home forwards started to dominate a tiring visiting pack and when they infringed 30 metres out the metronomic boot of Ratcliffe dished out the punishment and Scarborough led for the first time in the game 10-9.  With the rub of the green a couple of tries would have given the scoreline a healthier appearance but skipper Watson had to settle for a further couple of penalties from Tom Ratcliffe in the 60th and 75th minutes to complete a stirring second half fight back and progress to the second round of the competition.

Coach Lowde will be relieved to get a first win under his belt but will look for a more sustained performance from his class of 2012. With several new additions, players injured and missing and men playing out of position they obviously took time to settle but when they played with ball in hand they looked the business. The lineout was a worry however where there was far too much flapping at the ball and that will have to improve for next week’s visit of Driffield in the league. The defence was solid with Wilson in good form and discipline improved in the second half; pick of the forwards was Cutino, Raines, Wilson and Purdy. Behind them Rollinson, new man Schutz, Parker, Dennis, Harrison and Ratcliffe took the eye and youngster Matty Young was not overawed by the occasion.

Scarborough News man-of-the-match: Nino Cutino

Scarborough: Harrison Dennis Ratcliffe Parker Young Stewart Rollinson Cutino Dean Raines Watson (capt) Hoggard Purdy Wilson Austen Substitutes: Tite Schutz Gray Drayton.

Selby:Lunt Saunders Adamson Knowles Clark Cruise Daniels Pocklington Greenfield Bell Triffit Brown Wood Blaymire Hardy (capt) Substitutes: Randell Booth Webster Protheroe


21 Aug

My first ‘From the Touchline’ column in the Scarborough News will be in Thursday’s paper with the match report on-line and in the iPad app.   From this Sunday we hope to get the report with pictures to you and if you possess a Smart Phone you will be able to get a report and pictures on the move! The following Thursday’s paper will include a truncated report as well as my column. I’ve done less blogging than I thought I would this summer, probably due to my absorption with the Olympic Games but hopefully you’ll get more inside information on Scarborough Rugby in this blog and in the Scarborough News as the season progresses. As always, I can’t wait for the Rugby season to kick-off. See you at Silver Royd on Saturday.


21 Aug




Pinch me; am I dreaming? Am I really going to watch a home Yorkshire Shield tie on Saturday at Silver Royd?  I’m sure someone will tell me when, but it seems that the last time we had a home tie in this competition, Graeme Young was a young fly-half and Phil Barker had hair!   Our best effort over recent years in this competition was a run to the final in 2000 when Sheffield Tigers outwitted us at Hullionians even although Marus Edwards was in his pomp.  Last season’s first round tie was against a newly relegated Selby side in a Sunday game which got off to a flying start as the home side raced to 17-0 lead with three tries in the first 14 minutes. Nick Ingham’s men eventually roused themselves and fought back to take a 24-22 lead midway through the second half. However a late surge saw Selby progress to the second round of the competition running out 34-29 winners. Coach Jason Lowde gives a first XV debut to open-side flanker Ben Wilson who moved to Scarborough in the summer. I am told Jason has a few selection surprises up his sleeve which includes several players switching to new positions this season so I’m sure we have an interesting eighty minutes to look forward to. Selby reached the Shield Final last season where they were narrowly beaten 16-12 by Brid and will look forward to going one better this campaign. Can Phil Watson and his men nip that ambition in the bud? Let’s hope so. Scarborough-v-Selby in the 1st round of the Yorkshire Challenge Shield is on Saturday (25th August) kick-off 3pm. 



21 Aug







Last Saturday should have been a big celebration afternoon at Eastfield when the newly crowned Yorkshire Men’s Group Four champions Scarborough Pirates should have entertained Myton Warriors in their final home game of the season. It was hoped a large crowd would be in attendance to celebrate the Pirates’ achievements and create a party atmosphere throughout the game and for the presentation of the Group Four trophy at the end of the match. However with all the arrangements made the opposition called off at very short notice leaving a lot of people very disappointed indeed. It really makes my blood boil when not only has a lot of hard work been done to prepare for the day but good money had been spent on hiring a coach for the away game earlier in the season. In these situations the home side should be entitled to compensation. A club  game was held so spectators at least had a game to watch; pictures above.


14 Aug

Scarborough took 35 players to Acklam on Saturday (11th August) for a couple of club friendlies against the Middlesbrough-based club. The group were split into A and B squads with the A side well led by Phil Watson in his first game as skipper.  New open-side flanker Ben Wilson was always in the mix and will be a great addition for this season whilst Wayne Adams rolled back the years with a vintage lineout performance coming on for the injured Jaxon Tite. Matty Young and Andy Baird were always dangerous on the wings and former back row Luke Raines had an outstanding game in his first ever game at prop. Scarborough won 26-14 with Tom Ratcliffe and Nino Cutino bagging two apiece and Ratcliffe kicking three conversions. The B squad was led by Alex Sharp who with Brother Paul was outstanding in both defence and attack with Nick Daley excelling at fly-half. Tommy Goodman playing his first senior game, Rob Dean and Mark Hopper kept the home front row honest with a strong team performance. Acklam narrowly edged the visitors 19-17 with one more conversion than Scarborough in a game where the sides scored three tries apiece.

Both squads were slightly disappointed with their overall performances and know that even more hard work is required; However they are looking forward to Next Saturday’s away trip to Middlesbrough where they will need to increase their performance against a team that play a level above them.  The Team coach trip with both squads travelling proved to be a major success with all 35 players mixing and enjoying being part of the club. Coach Jason Lowde hopes to organize further trips with teams travelling together in the season ahead.


7 Aug












It’s taken me a while to drag myself out of my armchair and back to my computer as I’ve been enthralled and delighted with the Olympic Games. As of today the British medal tally has reached 48 with an amazing 22 gold. The weekend was amazing with Jessica Ennis’s heptathlon triumph the highlight for me. She’s such a lovely person and carried the weight of being the games’ ‘Golden Girl’ on her shoulders. Mo Farah’s 10,000 metres gold also set the Olympic Stadium on fire. Although I was never a big fan of tennis as an Olympic sport, Andy Murray’s defeat of Roger Federer on Sunday was so comprehensive and his passionate attitude to the competition so inspiring that he may just have changed my mind. Being a Scot it was great to see Chris Hoy get that sixth Olympic gold this afternoon; the guy has been a great ambassador for his sport and the pictures of his mum and dad as they watched the last lap of his final ride made absolutely compelling television. In my 40s I ran ten Marathons including London in 1983 and 1984 and thought they were probably the most gruelling sporting events I had ever taken part in. Consequently I have always thought that anyone taking on a triathlon must be mad and having watched the magnificent girls on Sunday and Yorkshire’s Brownlee brothers today, I haven’t really changed my mind but my admiration for their grit and bravery has no bounds.  I haven’t mentioned everyone here but that’s because with such a huge haul of medals I would be here all night! However I’m looking forward to the remaining four days before withdrawal symptoms set in next Monday morning. 


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