Selby RUFC 15 - 12 Old Brodleians RUFC
By Karen Ratcliffe
Rare victory over Old Brodleians brings Selby 4 precious points.
Selby RUFC 15 – 12 Old Brodleians RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow (Posted by Stephen Ward)
After a superb second half performance Selby edged to a nail-biting but fully deserved win against Old Brodleians to not only ease their own relegation fears by ending the visitor’s six match winning streak, but to record their first league victory over them since 2002.
Playing with a stiff first half breeze Selby did themselves no favours by almost completely ignoring it, opting to play expansively by running the ball out of deep defence rather than utilising the (seemingly) more obvious option of long clearance kicks – and while their ambition was admirable, and some of the play sparkling, the net result was an abundance of good field positions for Brodleians to attack from when the ball was eventually turned over. And with Brodleians showing why they were long unbeaten with an early try following some excellent driving and handling from forwards and backs alike, as well as mullering Selby in the early scrums, the signs were looking ominous for the Swans.
Fortunately for the numerous and distinctly tweedish-looking home supporters Selby had put their tackling boots on, so despite further heavy and consistent Brodleians pressure the Selby defence held firm and the Old Boys were unable to add anything to their early score – although they may have come to regret not going for goal with a couple of kickable penalty opportunities. When Selby did manage to gain good field position where it mattered, following some great work by the Wetherby Connection (no, not a popular beat combo but Liam Hogan and Tom Edwards), Stephen Clark was on hand to deliver the coup-de-grace by driving over from short range to leave the half time score at 7-5 in Selby’s favour.
With Selby now having to play into the elements a two point lead looked very flimsy but the Swans then produced the best 30 minutes of rugby of the season, with all players playing their full part, to dominate possession through a rejuvenated scrum and some excellent and controlled handling. The half time introduction from long-term injury of Josh Cruise was a heartening sight and he played a pivotal role at fly-half in directing play as Selby worked their way up to the Brodleians line – where the pack wasted no time in driving the Brodleians eight back from a five yard scrum for Captain Charlie Cicero to touch down. A further penalty from Cruise after more concerted Selby pressure extended the lead to 15-5, with the Swans now looking like worthy victors with ten minutes to go.
Unfortunately for Selby nerves, but enthralling to all spectators, Brodleians then showed their class to come fighting back for the remainder of the match to set up camp on the Selby line. More great Selby defence kept them out until eventually the pressure told and Brodleians forced their way over to close the gap to 15-12 with only minutes remaining. Further Brodleians pressure right at the death won a penalty in front of the sticks - but rather than going for the almost guaranteed draw, they kicked into the corner for a winner-takes-all showdown on the Selby line. Several Brodleians forward drives were frantically knocked downed inches from the line before blessed relief, and elation, finally came as Selby forced a knock-on for the final whistle and a superb win.
Selby now face runaway league leaders Moortown away on Saturday, and while getting anything from the match will be a very hard ask, if they can replicate their second half performance then who knows what may happen?