“The next generation of Swans Fly High”
Selby’s promising U17s/U18’s Colts have signed off their season in fine style by winning the Yorkshire U18’s Shield with a close victory against a fine Keighley side in a pulsating final hosted by Moortown.
Despite a squad depleted by injuries, the match saw the return of some of the club’s county and academy representative players to bolster the fine local talent that has been on show for the Swans all season.
Selby got off to a quick start, with powerful work in the tight from their forwards building a platform for some brilliant interplay in the backs. They crossed under the posts twice early on, finished off in style by centres Walker and Longthorpe. Bayston added the extras from the tee. In reply, Keighley could manage only a single penalty.
The match then tightened up with both teams squandering scoring opportunities before an opening converted try for Keighley and a penalty saw them get into the game. This group of young Swans has spirit though and they responded well when Longthorpe bagged his second with a fine determined drive over the line. Half time saw Selby turn around with a less than comfortable 19-10 lead
In the second half Keighley sensed their chance and applied all the pressure. With their line-out misfiring Selby’s struggled to get out of their own half but energy-sapping defence ensured Keighley were restricted to one penalty. Despite this, two rare forays into opposition territory, aided by some Keighley indiscipline, gave Bayston two tricky penalty chances which he calmly converted to give the Swans a 12-point lead and one hand on the trophy, or so they thought! But Keighley had other ideas and some powerful interplay between backs and forwards gave them two unanswered tries as Selby’s defence tired. A conversion and a penalty took them into a three-point lead with only two minutes to play.
A shell-shocked Selby were out on their feet but somehow found the ability to raise themselves again and launch an attack into the Keighley half. A rare Bayston miscue from the tee led to a fine kick chase which closed down the Keighley backs and was rewarded when the impressive Longthorpe made a game changing tackle to drive a Keighley defender over his own line. From the resulting 5-meter scrum Selby’s powerful No.8 Raynor drove into the heart of the Keighley defence before his backs released winger Ramsey to seal victory with a fine finish in the corner.
Victory is bittersweet as the older members of the squad now leave youth rugby for the senior ranks, many having risen through the fine junior set up at Sandhill Lane. If Selby can retain these fine young men, further success must surely follow for the Senior Swans.
Updated 17:23 - 23 Apr 2018 by Karen Ratcliffe