25 Aug




Scarborough: 21   Driffield: 12


By Dave Campbell


Scarborough kicked-off last season with a 21-20 league win over Driffield who went on to win Yorkshire One as champions. They finished off the season with an 80-0 thrashing at the hands of the same opposition. So there was quite a bit of apprehension amongst the Silver Royd faithful as the teams lined up for an early kick off friendly at Silver Royd.  The turnout for the game need not to have worried as the fifteen starters for the visitors bore little resemblance to the line-up that had inflicted so much pain back in April.


Teams were not announced for this game but Scarborough fielded a mixture of youth and experience in their squad which included former coach Jason Lowde in the front row, a welcome return for Matthew Else and the inclusion of several new faces not known to this reporter. However the squad included Henry Gray, a somewhat bulked-up Matty Young, fit again Chris Purdy and young hooker Mark Hopper. Phil Watson skippered the side at lock where a fit and honed Nick Ingham joined him in the engine room.


Scarborough had the best of the early exchanges where their pack dominated up front and some good driving play took them deep into Driffield territory. A period of pressure wide left on the visitor’s 22 in the 10th minute saw the ball moved swiftly infield and fullback Graeme Jeffrey crashed through the middle to score between the sticks. Fly-half Phil Stewart added the extras for a 7-0 home lead. Jeffrey and Lowde limped off for Scarborough after the bright start to be replaced by Daley and Tommy Goodman


The Scarborough eight turned the screw; however they failed to capitalize on their dominance  in the visitor’s 22 and the nearest they came to stretching their lead was when a drop-goal attempt by fly-half Phil Stewart cannoned off an upright in the 22nd minute. Persistence found its reward on the half-hour when scrum-half Zbnyec Schutz escaped the clutches of an attentive defence to power over to the left of the posts. Stewart made it 14-0 with the kick on the half-hour.


Just when it looked like Phil Watson’s men might take their 14-0 lead to the break, a lapse in concentration in their own 22 saw two missed tackles and an offside decision give the visitors a penalty in front of the posts. A quick tap penalty saw a Driffield man barge over for their opening try which was converted to reduce the arrears to seven points at the interval.


Coach Lee Douglas introduced Matty Else and the big farmer, who hadn’t turned out for the first XV for over a season due to work commitments was immediately in the action clearing up on the deck and putting his considerable ‘heft’ to good use. Scarborough continued to threaten with some abrasive work up front and when they secured possession from a clean catch and drive wide on their right, flanker Chris Purdy was driven over for a well executed try. Phil Stewart stretched the lead to 21-7 with his third conversion of the game.


Shaken out of their lethargy, Driffield took the game to Scarborough but great defensive work by the home centres, some crunching tackles by left-wing Matty Young, Watson, Else and Purdie stemmed the blue and white tide. However, when young scrum-half Scales was caught in possession at the back of a ruck just inside his own half, he was flattened by an opposition back row who dribbled on and drove over in the 62nd minute for a converted try to reduce the arrears to nine points at 21-12.


With walking wounded all over the paddock and a re-shuffled back division, the seasiders were under pressure for most of the latter part of the game but resolute defence and a great fighting spirit which saw them camped on their own line under pressure for long periods, saw them keep that line intact for a deserved victory.


Favourable comment on the nature of the win has to be tempered by a lack of knowledge of the strength of the Driffield side, nonetheless there were good performances throughout the home squad; a fairly cohesive pack was the cornerstone of their win and Nino Cutino, Locks Watson and Ingham, Gray, Matty Else and Chris Purdie excelled. Due to the lack of a team sheet I can’t mention as many in the backs as I would wish to, although Young, Daley, Schutz, Stewart and the centres took the eye.


Next week Scarborough travel west to take on Halifax-based Yorkshire Two side Old Rishworthians in the first round of the Yorkshire Challenge Shield. Coach Lee Douglas is still without his three foreign imports, hamstring victim Tom Harrison and try-magnet Tom Ratcliffe who is still in Australia but even without these assets I think he’ll be encouraged by the spirit and commitment shown by his charges in this game.


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