Middlesbrough RUFC 57 - 7 Selby RUFC
Understrength Selby suffer a thumping loss at Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough RUFC 57 – 7 Selby RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow
What a difference a week makes as, after the heroic win the previous Saturday at blizzard-swept Doncaster, the Swans travelled northwards to suffer a thumping loss playing in positively balmy sunshine against Middlesbrough. To be honest, the loss was not unexpected with the unavailability of quite a number of Selby’s more experienced players giving their line up a distinctly youthful look, but it was still disappointing to witness the manner, speed and scale of capitulation - that was only mitigated by a much improved second half performance. Middlesbrough were relegated last year and are hoping for a speedy return to a higher level of rugby and certainly the gulf in class between the two teams was evident as they put on an extremely competent show of fifteen man running rugby, albeit with limited opposition, that simply overran the Selby defence.
Selby started sluggishly as their perfect drop out was poorly chased allowing Middlesbrough easy possession that they expertly spread wide for the left wing to blast past some flimsy defence for the opening score. And the second score wasn’t long in following as Selby continued to underperform in all areas, being outmuscled and outfought in forwards and backs alike, as Boro ran in another long-range try to effectively seal the match with barely ten minutes played.
And this was how the first half continued with the Teessiders, with their holy quartet of eight, nine, ten and twelve outstanding, racking up tries with alarming regularity leaving the Selby support worrying about just how bad it could get. Selby did have their moments though with, inevitably, Liam Hogan again leading the way in the forwards and Will Edwards showing some deft touches in the backs - but the inability to keep hold of possession meant incursions into the Middlesbrough half were few and far between.
With a half time deficit above forty, Selby were facing a possible full time cricket score (well maybe not an England one) but the Swans showed much more resolve in the second half and gave a good account of themselves. It could be said Middlesbrough slackened off but this wasn’t the case as they ran as hard and well as in the first half but Selby’s defence was much more secure and they stuck at it right to the end. Intense pressure led to another two hard-earned tries to Boro but Selby had the last word with a well-deserved try of their own, dotted down by Millar McCoy, following sustained forward pressure.
With the team below Selby in the league, North Ribblesdale, also losing heavily the Swans remain just clear of the relegation zone but with just three games now left to play, every game becomes exponentially important. Selby’s next game is at home on 7 April (3pm) against Old Rishworthians and with the expectation of players returning they will be expecting a much improved performance.