A helter-skelter of a match. Beverley deservedly won in the end but they had to withstand a terrific late Scarborough onslaught during which the two sides between them scored 31 points in the last 25 minutes.
Beverley led 25-6 going into the final quarter and looked to have the game comfortably in the bag. They had been the better side throughout and were playing by far the more controlled rugby. They could scarcely have anticipated the rumbustious ending to come.
After quarter of an hour Scarborough led 6-3 through two penalties by fly half Tom Harrison to one by Jamie Gill. Despite being behind Beverley were enjoying all the early play and deservedly took the lead with a converted try when Luke Hazell took an inside pass from Junior Tupai to touch down under the posts. A second try by Jacob Holmes, set up by a thrilling forty metre run out of defence by Will Harrison, took Beverley two scores clear. Almost immediately they might have had another but Rob Smith after making a clear break on halfway opted to pass instead of keep going. With his exceptional pace had he gone for it himself he would almost certainly have scored.
None the less Beverley would have been happy to turn round 15-6 up at halftime. A second Gill penalty shortly afterwards took them to 18-6 and after some sustained forward pressure Isaac Keighley added another converted try when the pack drove over in the corner.
Scarborough looked to be dead and buried and were being made to look a pale shadow of the side that had played so impressively in the earlier away encounter. Keighley was making plenty of ground with his carries at number eight and the forwards as a whole were competing strongly, not least in the line-outs where Barney Carter in particular was enjoying a splendid game.
With twenty minutes left it all changed when Smith was yellow carded for a high tackle near his own line. Of more concern was that he dislocated his shoulder in the process and will no doubt be unavailable for Beverley’s next few games. After his departure Beverley had a jittery quarter of an hour during which they missed numerous tackles and were several times turned over at the breakdown. Scarborough clearly sensed a sniff of opportunity and their powerful running backs began to impose themselves. Two converted tries in the space of three minutes by centre Tom Ratcliffe and number eight Isaac Faamau brought them right back into it at 25-20. Suddenly it was all to play for and the momentum was now with Scarborough.
A well struck penalty by Gill restored Beverley’s two score cushion but it was still looking desperately tight with ten minutes left. Happily for Beverley a bit of Hazell magic was enough to clinch the victory. With Scarborough again threatening Will Harrison put up a box kick just outside his own 22. The ball bounced and went loose but Hazell in quick pursuit was on to it and once he had swept past his opposite wing on halfway there was only going to be one outcome, and that was a try under the posts which Gill converted.
And really that was that. Scarborough still threw everything into a frantic last few minutes and scored a third converted try through prop Nino Cutino but it was too late for any further prospect of a comeback. The final whistle soon followed and with it came the satisfaction for Beverley of having secured five league points against their close rivals, and also achieving some pay-back for the heavy defeat they had suffered in the away fixture in October.
Bearing in mind the local rivalry between these two sides it must be said that it was a pleasure for both sets of supporters to witness such an exciting hard-fought contest played throughout in a splendid spirit and excellently controlled by the referee, Glen Cockcroft. In fact just what rugby is all about.
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