Guisborough RUFC 12 - 15 Selby RUFC
Selby fail to turn their first half pressure into points and scape home with a last minute penalty.
Guisborough RUFC 12 – 15 Selby RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow (Posted by Stephen Ward)
In a critical game for Selby’s Yorkshire One league survival they only just scraped home, in dramatic and contentious fashion (more later), against cast iron bottom club Guisborough with a last gasp penalty kick to snatch victory from the jaws of a draw.
With a number of players returning to the fold Selby’s squad looked strong, particularly in the pack where they dominated the scrum throughout the match. However, despite the plentiful supply of ball coming their way the Swans struggled to put it to any good use and it was Boro who came closest to opening the scoring with some smart moves that only broke down through poor final passes.
Eventually though the percentages had to tell and Selby finally got close enough for Liam Hogan to take Route One, battering his way through the Boro midfield to score near the posts; although kicker Harry Cruise missed what should have been a simple conversion. The good field positions then kept coming for Selby but a mixture of naivety, silly penalties, and fierce Boro defending kept the Swans out until, after a couple excellent five yard scrum chances had been squandered, Eddie Brown made amends by forcing his way over under the posts for a 0-12 lead. And that’s how it stayed until half time with Selby supporters thinking, and saying, that with the amount of possession that had come Selby’s way the bonus point win should already have been signed, sealed, and delivered.
The half time interval saw three of Selby’s influential players retire injured and boy did it tell as suddenly it was a completely different game, with the Swans looking hesitant and incapable and Boro correspondingly looking more and more confident. With Selby unable to get out of their own half at all, and with penalty machine Stephen Clark finally earning the least surprising yellow card ever, the pressure had to tell as Boro crossed for two tries to tie the score at 12 apiece. With Selby now hanging desperately on for what was looking like an unlikely draw, only some great defending from the indefatigable Tom Edwards and winger Alex Hare, together with a simple penalty miss from in front of the sticks by Boro kept the scores level.
Finally, with minutes remaining and with Swans supporters stewing in their own misery the Selby scrummage, which at least was still functioning well, won good ball for Clark to break up field to gain good field position. And when a Boro player did his own best Clark impression by needlessly infringing at the breakdown in front of the posts, Selby’s chance to snatch the win came – and duly went as Cruise slid his kick wide. Selby managed to stay in the business zone though and when, with only seconds now remaining, Boro committed yet another daft penalty, Cruise had his chance to be the match winner again – which he this time took by firing his kick right through the middle of the posts.
Actually, dear reader, that’s not exactly what happened as Cruise’s kick, in the view of Selby’s touch judge (me in fact, and in the best position to judge both line and length) but not it was evidently clear a number of the Boro faithful, only just slid inside the ‘good’ side of the post; or what it was deemed would have been the virtual extension of said post, as the Boro posts were actually quite short. Anyhow, with the final whistle and Selby’s perceived pinching of the points at the death on such a close call came, almost inevitably, a certain amount of unhappiness from some quarters about the probity of the loss – and also, it must be said, some gracious and sportsman-like acceptance from others.
Selby firsts now have a break before taking up the league challenge again at home against Old Brodleians a week on Saturday.