Pontefract RUFC 24 - 14 Selby RUFC
By Karen Ratcliffe
Selby dominate last quarter but fail to secure any reward.
Pontefract RUFC 24 – 14 Selby RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow (Posted by Stephen Ward)
Selby travelled to local rivals Pontefract for a resumption of Yorkshire One derby hostilities, after the hosts’ recent sojourn in Yorkshire Two, and were promptly taught a rugby lesson by the league newcomers in just how to win a game of rugby. With a number of more experienced players missing for various reasons, it was a very young and inexperienced Selby team that took to the field - and it showed as Pontefract ‘old manned’ them to run out worthy winners.
Playing against the slope and breeze it was imperative for Selby to try to negate these first half disadvantages with tight, controlled play, keeping hold of possession for as long as possible. Unfortunately, this was beyond them as a succession of mistakes enabled Pontefract to camp on their line, where only their own limitations prevented them from crossing for a score. Selby then seemed to have weathered the storm and after good approach play from Eddie Brown a penalty was won in front of the sticks to give Selby not only the chance of an unlikely lead, but the Swans’ supporters the idea that this was going to be a close, tight game. Unfortunately, and as a portent of Selby’s later kicking woes, the kick rebounded of a post and the chance was gone.
Selby then continued to present Pontefract with a surfeit of ball for the rest of the half as they failed to compete, particularly at the breakdowns where they were rucked off a number off their own possessions. With the game starting to resemble an attack v defence training drill and with Swans fly half Harry Cruise going for the world record in consecutive missed touches (still to be ratified), only Selby’s committed tackling kept Pontefract at bay - but the constant pressure eventually had to tell and Pontefract eventually crossed for a 7-0 lead after 25 minutes. With half time looming though, Selby were still well placed to take advantage of the second half conditions, but it all went to pot very quickly as two quick scores were gifted to Pontefract to take the score to 19-0 and the game was up.
The second half continued mostly in much the same vein, with Selby’s ball control struggles continuing, and it was no surprise when Pontefract took advantage with a classy back move off a line out to stretch the lead to 24-0. Then, with the game seemingly petering out, Selby at last started to string together a series of possessions that had Pontefract stretched in defence and after good Selby forward pressure replacement fly half Scott Hunt, playing well in his first game back after a lengthy injury lay off, crossed for a well-deserved try after 65 minutes. Suddenly it was all Selby as Pontefract looked a different side when put under a bit of pressure and after more enterprising back play a certain try down the right was spurned after a dreadful last pass. However, another move saw winger George Stoker collect a cross field punt from Hunt to race away before drawing his man to put centre James Robinson in for a try and 24-14 score.
With Selby now hunting for another score to at least earn a very unlikely losing bonus point, time defeated them - leaving the Selby followers wondering what game they might have watched had Selby had their game heads on right from the start.
Selby now face bottom placed Old Rishworthians at home on Saturday and they will be hoping for a much improved performance to get back on track in their league campaign.