Keighley RUFC 43 - 10 Selby RUFC
Selby rooted to the bottom of the Yorkshire 1 League Table after another defeat.
Keighley RUFC 43 v 10 Selby RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow
With most Yorkshire One league fixtures succumbing to the icy weather for a second successive Saturday, Selby’s match at Keighley survived due to the hosts recent installation of a 4G artificial pitch – and with Keighley putting on a full day of festivities to mark the occasion, Selby failed to take the opportunity to spoil the party with another lacklustre losing display to finish the year firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.
It must be said the new pitch did look very well done and a great improvement on the normally heavy Keighley going with everyone, apart from maybe the most ‘old school’ of props, appreciating the opportunities it gives for fast, open rugby. The problem for Selby and their support on Saturday was that most of it was done by Keighley who cut the Selby defence to ribbons on numerous occasions.
Selby started well though and despite the quick appearance of the usual unforced errors were still in the ascendancy until an error too far allowed Keighley to intercept a loose Selby pass and race 60m for the opening try. Selby responded well, returning to their good forward possession play before Alex Webster and Duncan Hardy combined to recreate a copy of their 2014 National Vase semi-final try against Stourbridge Lions – with Webster scything up-field before releasing Hardy to dummy the opening and then show his remarkable prop forward pace to cross for a fabulous try.
From the restart Selby again took forward control and were making good territorial gains but, as has been a recurring theme this season, one error often leads to all the good work being undone and after the young Keighley open-side flanker, the games outstanding player, expertly snaffled a turnover at the breakdown the Keighley backs then cut loose with some slick inter-passing to run the ball back for a 75m try.
Selby’s forwards again went to work, particularly at scrum time where they destroyed a couple of Keighley scrums, but with a subsequent inability to clear their lines or build any sustained pressure without turning the ball over the writing was on the wall and Keighley profited again after recovering possession to score another well worked try. When Selby then allowed Keighley to take the restart without any sort of challenge to again shred the Selby defence for another long-range try the game was effectively over as a contest after half an hour.
The last ten minutes of the half again belonged to Selby who made some good breaks backed up by forward possession but again they were unable to turn territory into points and with Keighley being a bit quicker to the punch around the breakdown to regain possession they were able to hang on to clear their lines without conceding any scores of their own.
Selby again returned to the attack straight after half time with the Swans forwards battering the Keighley line but some resilient and last-ditch defending held the line and when Selby eventually transgressed the chance was lost. When Keighley eventually got back into the Selby half they proved altogether more clinical with another well worked try out wide. And so the half progressed, with Selby generating a lot of heat and steam but struggling to get anywhere fast whereas Keighley were able to step up a gear when it really mattered to fire the ball out wide, where their ascendency was significant, for two further tries.
Selby did have the last word though when their match-long effort in the forwards was eventually rewarded as loose forward Tom Hicks battered his way over for his second try in two matches.
Selby now have a break from league rugby until Saturday 6 January when they take on Scarborough at home and it is hoped that the New Year will bring a fresh start and renewed vigour for what is going to be a challenging end to the season. In the meantime, players and spectators can forget league troubles as the club hosts the annual ‘exiles’ rugby match on Boxing day, when the club takes on a team of returning players for what is always a keenly fought, and very popular, encounter. All are very welcome.