Old Brodleians RUFC 48 - 12 Selby RUFC
Selby's hardworking and sterling efforts not reflected in the final score.
Old Brodleians RUFC 48 v 12 Selby RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow
Following the glut of injuries sustained the previous week Selby travelled to Old Brodleians with a somewhat makeshift team, and correspondingly lowered expectations, and while they suffered their perennial defeat at the hands of a slick and capable Brodleians side those who pulled on the green, red and gold put in a hardworking and sterling effort that doesn’t reflect in the final score.
With a four metre drop in height from top left to bottom right and the usual heavy and wet conditions it could be argued that, more than any other, the Brodleians pitch is one that requires an effective positional game to be able to take full profit from the heavy advantage that playing down the hill has always bestowed. Unfortunately for Selby the lack of regular fly-half Scott Hunt together with the lack of any other capable kicking options meant that, unlike Brodleians, they were unable to convert the good amount of downhill possession they did win into decent territorial position to consistently trouble the opposition.
Kicking off down the slope Selby failed to realise it wasn’t rocket science by ignoring the seemingly and eternally obvious option to find the bottom corner, instead kicking short to gift Brodleians immediate and easy mid field possession and when, following further Selby errors, they got within striking range they moved the ball wide for a well taken, and ominous, try. With usual prop forward stalwart Duncan Hardy again forced to stand in at stand-off, it might have been thought that Selby’s pack might struggle – but not at all as the forwards, with debutant Alex Grace and youngster James Ibbetson heavily involved, took the fight to Brodleians to dominate the scrum and win plenty of possession throughout the match. A period of sustained forward possession allowed Selby to get near enough to the Brodleians line for skipper Brendan Lanaghan to force his way over to equalise and then further good pressure followed from Selby but, disappointingly, a number of possessions were squandered near to the Brodleians line through inexperience and eagerness. In contrast, a break from Brodleians gave them good field position and when Selby again failed to clear long, gave them the chance to show their more clinical finishing with another well-constructed try through their backs.
A Brodleians error from the restart though allowed Selby’s forwards to again pressure their line and when the gap came the backs quickly moved the ball wide for Matthew Leetham, having a busy and solid game at full back, to cross for an excellent try. With Selby now right back in the game and playing well, albeit down the slope, their inexperience then came to the fore as they became bogged down in midfield, unable to make good territorial use of the ample supply of possession that came their way. Instead, when possession was ultimately lost, Brodleians raced away for another slick try for a 21 -12 lead close to half time. There was still time for Selby to go for a deserved third try (and three quarters of the way to a bonus point) as the forwards again powered right up to the Brodleians line but, again, a lack of compose at the crucial moment led to possession being lost and the end of the half.
And so, with the loss of the slope for the second half, any chance Selby had of getting any points from this game reduced drastically as Brodleians did what Selby failed to do by putting the ball right into the bottom corner from their kick off, and at every opportunity thereafter until the game was clearly won, giving Selby the Sisyphean task of arduously driving the ball so far up field, only to see it kicked back to square one to have to start all over again. With their good field positions Brodleians were able to cut loose with a number of tries scored through forward drives and slick back play but Selby did at least gain something as they stuck to their task right up to the end. Indeed, even up the slope the Selby scrum remained dominant which bodes well for future tighter matches - though it is to be hoped they will learn from this game to make smarter use of it to maximise their scoring opportunities.
Selby entertain Heath at home this Saturday and it is now essential that Selby start winning to have any chance of avoiding relegation.