PERCY PARK 23 SCARBOROUGH 23 Dave Campbell’s Full report.

7 Dec

Tom Ratcliffe lines up the kick that dew the game with Percy Park

RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION (RFU) NORTHERN DIVISION – NORTH EAST ONE

PERCY PARK 23 SCARBOROUGH 23

By Dave Campbell

Scarborough returned from North Shields having fought-back from a 13-23 deficit late in their game with Percy Park who were unbeaten at home, to snatch a draw with the last kick off the match.

Heavy overnight rain continued into the game making handling conditions difficult for both sides;  Scarborough took an early lead when ‘Park’ were penalised for a high tackle and fly-half Tom Ratcliffe land the kick for a 3-0 lead.

A ding-dong battled ensued and the game ebbed and flowed with the bigger home side having a distinct advantage at the set scrums; and from a re-set scrum on Scarborough’s five metre line the ball was moved right to wide left for winger Ali Blair to cross in the 12th minute. Fly-half Ashley Smith missed the conversion but Park led 5-3.

Scarborough bounced back when a break from mid-way took play to the home line; the ball was recycled left to right and flanker Euan Govier powered over in the 17th minute. Radcliffe added the extras for a 10-5 Scarborough lead.

The rain had eased off midway through the half but Percy Park still had ascendancy at the set scrum, however the visiting eight stuck to their collective task and scrum-half Jordan Wakeham was having a stormer and was ‘in the faces’ of his bigger, heaver opponents constantly.

Fly-half Smith reduced the arrears to two points for the Geordies in the 29th minute when Scarborough were penalised for not releasing and he followed that up two minutes later with the conversion of Blair’s second try for Park for a 15-10 lead which they took to the break.

Honours were even after the interval with two fully committed sides giving their all with things understandably getting heated at times. A terrific break by Tom Ratcliff was illegally stopped and the big fly-half slotted the resulting penalty to reduce the arrears to 15-13.

A dynamic performance by the young Scarborough back row forwards saw them tidy up lots of ball under real pressure at the back of the scrum ably assisted by the livewire Wakeham.   However, when they were awarded a scrum on their own ten metre line in the 65th minute Percy Park drove them off their own ball, flanker Ethan Wilson picked up and darted down the blind side before releasing wingman Michael Grove to score and take the Geordies 20-13 ahead in the 73rd minute; Smith failed to convert.

And Grove nudged his side 23-13 ahead in the 76th minute with a penalty awarded for a deliberate knock-on by a Scarborough player. Scarborough heads never went down as they looked to save something from the game and a sublime inside pass from Wakehamin the home 22 sent Aaron Wilson under the posts with full time beckoning; Ratcliffe converted to reduce the arrears to three points at 23-20.

Scarborough piled on the pressure as the Geordies held on to their slender lead but they eventually infringed deep in injury time. Ratcliffe’s attempt from the right of the posts in the Park 22 hit an upright and was recovered by the Seasiders who continued their assault on the home line until they conceded again and Ratcliffe made no mistake with the kick to draw the game 23-23.

Coach Simon Smith’s men turned in a committed and dogged performance against a side unbeaten on their own turf so far this season. A result that was particularly noteworthy for the Scarborough players who were unavailable for the game. And as they have done in EVERY game they have played this season, they came away with points.

SCARBOROUGH: PERRETT JONTY HOLLOWAY PARKER YOUNG SMITH RATCLIFFE WAKEHAM CORE JONES (CAPT) CUTINO BROWN ROBINSON D. GOVIER E.GOVIER WILSON REPLACEMENTS: JORDAN HOLLOWAY IAN WILLIAMS JOE MARSHALL

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SCARBOROUGH NEWS MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: JORDAN WAKEHAM

This was a very difficult away game against a big, experienced side with committed performances all over the paddock from Scarborough, none more so than the in-your-face performance from Jordan Wakeham.

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