Selby RUFC 20 - 12 Moortown RUFC
Selby masters of their own destiny as they avoid relegation with a fine win over Moortown.
Selby RUFC 20 v 12 Moortown RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow
Selby completed their perennial last match escape from relegation in glorious sunshine at Sandhill Lane in front of a massive crowd who roared them home to a stirring victory over a combative Moortown side who had every intention of spoiling the day. Given that Selby were marooned at the bottom of the league in early January with only 9 points to their name, this was a recovery of miraculous proportions and massive credit must be given to club stalwarts Steve Cruise and Tizzy Nicholson who re-took the coaching reins at that time, together with all of their new and existing coaching team and the players themselves, for turning the club’s fortunes around to finish on 38 league points and escape the relegation zone.
With all hands needed at the pumps, club physio Hayley Brady was the busiest and most important woman in Selby as the long list of walking wounded were strapped up and prepared for one last battle and, combined with a number of players whose first team retirement plans may have had to be put on hold, Selby put out a strong and purposeful side. Nobody told Moortown though as they took an early lead through their excellent antipodean scrum half who caught the defence napping with a quickly taken penalty for the opening try. Supporters nerves were reassured though as Selby’s pack began a demolition job on their opposition, which was to continue throughout the match, and following a period of forward dominance Number 8 Liam Hogan powered his way over to close the gap.
Moortown were clearly trying to play an expansive game but Selby were in no mood to let them and, with the back row of Hogan, Charlie Cicero and Ash Parkinson playing superbly and in particularly delightful destructive mode, the Swan started to get on top and control the game despite playing into the surprisingly strong breeze. Selby again came close as they were denied an arguable penalty try as Moortown sacked a surely try-destined forward maul near to their line – but no matter, as prop and chief beefmeister Duncan Hardy took the referee out of the equation as he bulldozed over from the quickly taken penalty to take the lead. And on the stroke of half time the lead was extended as, following a penalty kick to the corner, Parkinson took advantage of Moortown trying to get too cute in not defending the line out, as he caught the ball, said thank you very much, and simply strolled through the wide open defence for a 17-7 half time lead.
With the breeze behind them and with their forward domination it was hoped Selby would ease supporters fears by quickly extending the second half lead into the distance but, with news filtering in from elsewhere in the league that North Ribblesdale were doing a proper job on relegation rivals Wheatley Hills and that Selby may be safe whatever, the Swans took a cautious approach to the possession and penalties they earned, choosing to kick for goal rather than the corner which had served them so successfully in the first half. The result was a disjointed half where, for the most part, Selby failed to get near enough to the Moortown line to let the forwards do any real damage, with their only score being a solitary and scant Scott Hunt penalty. Moortown were given the incentive to keep going, which they did scoring the only try of the half from some sustained pressure of their own - but Selby always seemed to have enough and closed out the match with a two score lead deep in Moortown territory, where only some last ditch defence and maybe some tactful and conciliatory refereeing prevented a final, and unnecessary, Selby score.
So, job done for Selby in retaining their Yorkshire One status – but, after the emergency surgery necessary at New Year, the arrangements for sustaining the longer term health of the club for next season are already underway. In the meantime though the annual ‘Overs v Under’s match player and presentations being held at the club on Saturday will give the opportunity for the celebrations to rightly continue. Kick off is 2pm and all are welcome.