Selby RUFC 7 - 10 York RUFC
York just edge an enthralling encounter against an improving Selby.
Selby RUFC 7 v 10 York RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow
With the season drawing to a close and with both teams in desperate need of the points, for differing reasons, Selby and York slugged it out in for the full eighty minutes at Sandhill Lane with top-of-the-table York just shading it over relegation threatened Selby. Considering York’s ruthless demolition of the Swans earlier in the season, it is another measure of Selby’s recent improvement that they were able to run the league leaders so close - and while the losing bonus point that they managed to pick up may seem scant reward for their efforts, it may still prove extremely important to Selby’s Yorkshire One survival come the final league reckoning.
In front of a big derby crowd, distinctly tweed-hued thanks as ever to the marvellous match day sponsorship of the local farmers, Selby started as they meant to continue with a heavily muscled forward assault on the York defensive line. York however responded as they meant to go on with their own heavily muscled defence - and this was to be the template for the entire match with both teams knocking seven bells out of each other in a match that while maybe lacking in quality was always a tense and watchable affair. The only fly in the ointment of the day was an idiosyncratic and unsympathetic refereeing display which bemused players and spectators on both sides alike and which yielded a world record (I may have made that bit up) thirty seven penalties shared between the teams; and it was a credit to both teams that they managed to overcome the disruption and discontinuity that this inevitably caused to produce the spectacle that they did.
Following one early York infringement, Selby fly half Scott Hunt found the corner and the Selby pack did the rest from the line out as Duncan Hardy was driven over for what appeared to be a relatively easy score, well converted by Hunt. Any chance of any similar outcome for Selby never happened though as they then failed to utilise the breeze at their backs and rarely got near enough to the York line to be able to repeat the dose. Indeed, even against the breeze York had by far the better of possession and territory and a penalty of their own left the score at 7-3 to Selby at half time.
York then, rather curiously for league leaders, themselves failed to capitalise on the wind seemingly content instead to try to win an arm wrestle with Selby in midfield – but with the Swans defence proving to be as resolute as that for York, and with Alex Webster and the veteran Andy Kehoe outstanding in the centres, the defensive line remained unbroken. A couple of kickable penalties went begging for each team before York strung together a number of phases to sustain enough pressure on Selby’s line to finally force themselves over for a good try and deserved 7-10 lead.
And that was it as far as scoring was concerned, with York for the main part on attack and Selby fighting them off with a fabulous defensive effort and clinging on to their losing bonus point for all they were worth. However, the final few minutes did offer Selby the chance to even sneak the win, or draw, as firstly substitute Liam Hogan’s great break upfield and pass was wasted as the Selby support lost possession, and then a kickable penalty to tie the scores was turned down if favour of an, ultimately unsuccessful, kick to the corner and line out drive.
So, a well-earned and maybe unexpected bonus point for Selby was their well-deserved reward for a fantastic team effort - but they now need to repeat this performance in a tricky next fixture away at bottom placed Wheatley Hills to maximise their chances of remaining in this league.