Old Rishworthians RUFC 35 - 22 Selby RUFC
Another frustrating curate's egg of a performance by Selby
Old Rishworthians RUFC 35 v 22 Selby RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow
Selby travelled to Halifax based Old Rishworthians, who have risen through the leagues and were promoted to Yorkshire One last season, for a first league fixture and were offered a warm and generous welcome in the clubhouse - but unfortunately the hosts were less charitable on the field of play consigning the Swans to another defeat which leaves them rooted to the foot of the table. Again, it was a curate’s egg of a performance from Selby in which they started well, seemed to have completely lost the game, rallied to look the most likely winners, and then faded badly to eventually come away from the match with not even the benefit of a losing bonus point.
Rishworthians is set in a lovely enclosed valley but its location next to the River Calder means the going is decidedly heavy and this, combined with the small playing area and host’s hefty pack, lends itself to a simple and direct playing style, which it must be said they employed very effectively for most of the match with big, hard running forwards backed up by big, hard running backs.
Selby weathered the early battering though and were starting to make promising inroads themselves when the familiar combination of error then penalty struck as from a threatening field position they lost possession and then quickly found themselves seven points down as Rishworthians capitalised on some indiscipline and flimsy tackling to go over for the opening try. Rishworthians then repeated the dose as yet more poor Selby tackling allowed a similarly simple try and when shortly after they again blasted through some tissue-thin defence the game looked dead and buried for Selby at 21-0 down after 25 minutes.
However, with home support satisfaction juxtaposed against Selby supporter despondency, the Swans decided to invite themselves to the party as firstly good ball carrying by Duncan Hardy led to some nifty inter-passing between Alex Webster and Ben Lunt to release Danny Wilkinson for a great score converted by Scott Hunt. The mood of the game, and spectators, then changed considerably as debutant Tom Hicks muscled over the gain line before releasing winger Harry Cruise who made good ground of his own up the left flank before finding the ever-supporting Wilkinson with an exquisite inside pass for another fine try on the stroke of half time.
Despite the missed conversion Selby were right back in the game and when shortly after half time Hicks finished off some strong forward possession by forcing his way over for a converted try to bring the scores to 21-19, the resurrection appeared complete with Selby seemingly in full control and Rishworthians a shadow of their earlier threat. However, Selby’s position at the foot of the table is probably not for nothing and their inexperience then showed as they completely lost their momentum and failed to consolidate, never mind build on, their ascendency for the remainder of the match.
A propensity to try to play too much football in their own half, especially in the heavy conditions, led to passes being pushed and put down and when Rishworthians subsequently regained possession within the Selby half, a subsequent scrum penalty allowed them to not only increase the lead with a long range penalty kick but to regain some composure and renewed belief in their own abilities. A re-galvanised Rishworthians then showed how to close the game out by playing a more simple but effective percentage game, using their big forwards to either grind forward to keep possession or by kicking deep to win territory. Another Selby scum infringement, caused by a Rishworthians pack who had clearly got their mojo back, led to another penalty kick and when it bounced back off a post Selby’s misery was complete as they were slow to react allowing the Rishworthians winger a chance to scoop it up and score unopposed.
A brief foray into the Rishworthians half gained a converted Scott Hunt penalty to potentially give Selby, at least, a losing bonus point but normal service then resumed as Rishworthians ‘old manned’ the young Selby team by playing keep-ball to win another two penalty kicks of their own for a final score of 35-22.
So, another frustrating display from Selby who, while showing they can producing some great running rugby, must also show more resilience when under early pressure to minimise opposition scores against them which are taking the game too far away from them to be able to recover. The Swans entertain old friends and foes Hullensians at home this Saturday and will be hoping for a league win to help raise spirits and kick of festivities before the club’s annual players Christmas party.