Fresh from securing the league the week before, Selby travelled to Huddersfield to face Scunthorpe in the Yorkshire Plate Final. And with the opportunity to win the double, Selby’s travelling support of over 100 were determined to cheer their team to victory.
Scunthorpe have a justifiable reputation for being powerful up front, working through phases to set up their pacey back line. So Selby’s pack in particular knew they’d have to win the battles at rucks and breakdowns.
And what a start they made, demonstrating from minute one that they backed themselves.
After an evenly matched first 5 minutes, Lodge broke free on the 5m line and powered over. A super conversion from Henry Bayston gave the Swans an early 0-7 lead. Shortly afterwards there was a scrum on the halfway line, which Selby won quick ball from with James Bramley picking up where he left off last week. Bayston then drew the defence brilliantly before off-loading to a flying Joe Ramsay who ran a brilliant angle to the left corner. 0-12.
Scunthorpe needed to get something on the board, and they responded quickly with a powerful forwards’ try in the right corner. 5-12 Selby’s work rate across the park was something to behold, and having won good ball, Ramsay again found space, but was tackled just short of the line. Thankfully Bramley was on hand for the pop, and he dived over under the posts. 5-19.
As half time loomed, Selby had one more try in them, this time coming from Owain Sudron from close range, using his considerable power to finish from short range. A true forwards’ try which was richly deserved reward for an immense first half effort by the entire pack. 5-26.
The game after half time became a little more attritional, with Scunthorpe enjoying more territory and possession, but Selby’s aggressive defence continued. The Selby backs were also getting chance to demonstrate their pace and skills, and the best example of this came 15 minutes in. Ramsay initiated it down the left wing, then popped a perfectly timed pass to Bayston on his inside, who then swung it back to the wing where Oliver Weston was galloping along the wing in support. He outpaced the defence, and after this, Scunthorpe looked a little shell-shocked. 5-31. Ramsay got his second try of the match following a really testing crossfield kick by Bayston. 5-38.
To Scunthorpe’s absolute credit, they continued to pressure Selby, and the Swans needed to be incredibly resilient close to their tryline. After being under siege for 5 minutes, the ball came loose on the left, and it was left to Tom Morris on the right wing to put the after-burners on and run from his 22 to the other end of the pitch under the posts. 5-45
It had been an immense performance from Selby against a strong side. Their desire at the breakdown was obvious for all to see, led, not for the first time, by Green the captain, but ably supported by the entire pack. It was as complete a performance as they’ve put on all season, and all the squad should be proud of winning the League and Cup double; a perfect way to end the season.