Selby RUFC 10 - 38 Middlesbrough RUFC
By Karen Ratcliffe
Poor second half showing sinks Selby with Middlesbrough replacing Crossleyans at the top of Yorkshire 1.
Selby RUFC 10 – 38 Middlesbrough RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow (Posted by Stephen Ward)
After two successive league victories the Swans couldn’t make it three in a row as they came back to earth with a thump after being comprehensively downed by league leaders Middlesbrough at Sandhill Lane on Saturday. This was always going to be a difficult ask for Selby, particularly with a long injury and unavailability list - including Captain Charlie Cicero, and of Harry Cruise meaning they had no recognised fly half on duty. Nevertheless, a very poor second half showing was especially disappointing, even considering the mitigating circumstances.
It had all started so well for Selby as a good break from Liam Hogan was taken on by the forwards, with Sam Phipps prominent, who battered the Middlesbrough line before Sam Broughton (who is starting to make a habit of this) forced his way over to grab the glory for a 5-0 lead. However, the Teesiders replied quickly as an unwise and missed attempt at an interception allowed their backs the time and room to shoot away up the left wing for an ominously classy converted try to retake the lead. With Selby beginning to show an alarming and uncharacteristic (well this season anyway) lethargy, Middlesbrough then showed their forwards weren’t that bad either as they took control on Selby’s line to force a number of errors and penalties, leading to another try and 5 -14 lead.
A Middlesbrough penalty and yellow card then gave Selby a foothold and, after full back George Stoker had superbly sliced his kick right into the corner for great field position, the forwards then spent the next ten minutes assaulting the visitor’s line before eventually, after great Middlesbrough defence and a couple of near misses, Liam Hogan powered over to reduce the gap to 10-14. With only minutes remaining to half time, and with the only real score-line difference being that Middlesbrough had a recognised place kicker and Selby didn’t, Selby only had to see the half out. Unfortunately, yes, Selby’s inability to clear their line from kick offs returned as a comedy of errors resulted in Middlesbrough being gifted a simple penalty from in front of the sticks to take a 17-10 half time lead.
The second half started disastrously for Selby (and then didn’t get much better) as Middlesbrough took the game away from them within just a few minutes of the restart, as very poor kick chasing was complimented by atrocious tackling to allow two quick Middlesbrough tries and an unassailable 10-31 lead. With Selby continuing to be bettered in thought, action and skill, the game played out to its inevitable conclusion - although the Selby forwards, with Phipps and Tom Edwards giving it everything, did have another muscular spell on the Middlesbrough line, with unfortunately nothing to show for it but a couple agonisingly close chances. Middlesbrough then closed the scoring off with another try for a final score of 10-38; and Selby can give thanks that the mauling wasn’t worse.
So, a poor performance from Selby, albeit their first of the season and against strong opposition, but the Swans need to learn from this to become more resilient in adversity to ensure that when they are beaten, they are only second and not third best! Selby must now put this behind them and get back on the horse at home against Guisborough on Saturday - in what, with respect to the opposition, should be a much more winnable game. Famous last words!