Scarborough slump to a fourth consecutive defeat at Middlesborough despite leading 24-7 at half-time

2 Nov


Middlesbrough   26   Scarborough  24


By Dave Campbell


Scarborough raced to a commanding 24-7 lead with three superb tries in the opening half-hour at Middlesbrough. However they never recovered from losing on-fire Tomasz Chadwick injured just before the break and Harry Domett who was red-carded shortly after it and slumped to an unlikely defeat given their earlier dominance.

The visitors went off like a train and pressured the Middlesbrough defensive line in their opening foray into home territory. And when they pounced on a fumble just outside the home 22, flanker Eamon Chapman powered over for the opening score of the match with only three minutes on the clock. Fly-half Tomasz Chadwick made no mistake with the difficult conversion for a 7-0 Scarborough lead.

The Seasiders continued to press and looked the sharper of the sides with Chapman, Matthew Else and Taylor Smith winning the back row battle and Chadwick, Marshall and Domett looking very dangerous. Middlesbrough almost had the equalizing try in the 10th minute when fly-half Simon O’Farrell went over following some good work by his forwards; however the big number ten’s effort was ruled out due to obstruction in the lead up to the touchdown.

Middlesbrough were penalized a couple of times just inside their own half in the opening quarter of an hour but Chadwick’s long range penalty efforts didn’t have the legs. However, following a scrum on halfway, clean ball was moved left and Domett set off on a jinking run; the flying Kiwi waltzed round three men before releasing fullback Tom Harrison who scampered in under the posts in the 18th minute. Skipper Tom Ratcliffe added the extras for 14-0.

A bustling break by O’Farrell almost took him to the Scarborough line but a great cover tackle by Harrison stopped him in his tracks. The Teesiders remained camped in the visitors 22 and a couple of minutes later Scarborough were undone by their ‘bête noire’ the catch-and-drive and No8 Iain Bradford burrowed over to score. Fullback Jack Bircham’s touchline conversion reduced the arrears to seven points in the 27th minute.

Skipper Tom Ratcliffe’s men continued to look sharp and incisive and when clean ball from a lineout wide on the right was moved swiftly infield, Chadwick was onto it in a flash and leaving a posse of would-be tacklers in his wake, scored a superb try underneath the posts. Ratcliffe converted for 21-7 in the 29th minute. Middlesbrough was penalized from the restart and the big centre stroked over a towering long-distance kick for 24-7 on the half hour.

The from Silver Royd continued to attack through the backs with pace in the minutes before the break and should have stretched their lead when another powerful Domett run was stopped short with Chadwick looking for an offload. Chadwick then pounced on a loose ball in midfield and sprinted off for the line; he failed to see Domett on his shoulder and was tackled short before he could get his pass away injuring ankle ligaments in the process and was helped from the field just before half time.

With Phil Stewart on for Chadwick, the visitors were under siege from the restart; good work by the Middlesbrough forwards set up field position wide right in the Scarborough 22. And following some desperately poor Scarborough tackling, Middlesbrough wing Adam Nolson strolled over for a soft try in the 46th minute. Bircham converted to reduce the arrears at 24-14. Domett spoke to referee Jason Garrick about a Scarborough player who was down injured and interfering with the visitors ability to defend the Nolson try and was immediately yellow carded. As he left the field  he apparently laughed at the official a fellow Kiwi, and was immediately red-carded and dismissed.

Scarborough came straight back and a well judged high ball from scrum-half Jordi Wakeham was won by Joe Marshall; the young wing charged forward but was stopped just short of the line and was penalized for not releasing. That was to prove costly as Middlesbrough scrum-half Peter Wright subsequently broke from half way brushing aside some poor attempted tackles and scored wide on the right in the 52nd minute. Bircham failed to convert. The Teesiders who had upped their game at the breakdown were now running the show and O’Farrell broke from inside his own half leaving a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake before grounding under the posts. Bircham converted to grab the lead at 26-24 on the hour.

The Teesiders took control and bossed the fourth quarter with Scarborough unable to get out of their own half. Halfbacks O’Farrell and Wright ruled the roost and injury to hooker Ian Williams disrupted the pack with Jesse Macdonald, Paul Taylor and Mark Hopper making a reasonable fist of things in the reshuffled front row. There was no further score in the game thanks to a tightening of the Scarborough defence with Chapman and Stewart to the fore but in the absence of Chadwick, Williams and Domett they faded out of the game as an attacking force and Middlesbrough finished narrow but comfortable winners.

ISCARBOROUGH: Harrison Domett Ratcliffe Parker Marshall Chadwick Wakeham Hopper Williams Macdonald Ingham Readman Smith Chapman Else SUBSTITUTES: Taylor Ogilvie Stewart

MIDDLESBROUGH: Bircham Nolso Thornburn Bellerby Kilbride O’Farrell Wright Warsama Kearney Helm Lonsdale Tremlett Wardle John Bradford SUBSTITUTES: Smith Ogilvie Stewart

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