1st XV
Sat 27 Apr 2024
Selby RUFC
1st XV
Tries: J Bramley, A Webster (2), J Dentith, M lodge, J Scholefield, O WestonConversions: C Bramley (3), H Wright
Birkenhead Park
Third Round Win Takes Selby XV Through to the Semi Final

Third Round Win Takes Selby XV Through to the Semi Final

Selby RUFC1 May - 21:16
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David Everatt

The final pool match in round three of the Papa Johns Cup saw a first ever fixture against Birkenhead Park. From their home on the side of the Mersey a large number of supporters crossed the Yorkshire/Lancashire border to a sun drenched Sandhill Lane. Selby’s starting fifteen contained the majority of those who had played in the previous rounds but with a strong looking bench featuring seven home grown players including a pleasing return from injury for Adam Leetham. A pre match get together with the first team squad and run out down the tunnel onto the field for Selby’s Micro age group showed the youngsters where it started for the large majority of Selby’s first team players.

Selby started positively from the kick off as Paul Townend made a clean catch and set off on a barnstorming run up the middle to get over half way. Quick recycling and a break down the right by Matty Lodge saw James Bramley in close support to dive over for the opening score converted by brother Charlie for a 7-0 lead within just a few minutes of the kick off.

Birkenhead then showed themselves well, going on the attack despite the early setback. Good ball retention and handling by both forwards and backs saw them levell the score with a well taken try on eleven minutes.

Selby’s response was immediate as the forwards retained possession and a fantastic break down the middle saw Tom Scholefield make ground into the 22 before skilfully popping the ball up out of the tackle to captain Alex Webster who touched down near the posts leaving Charlie Bramley an easy conversion and re-establishing the 7 point advantage at 14-7.

Birkenhead Park subsequently enjoyed their best spell of the game as stand off Dolan crafted an excellent individual try for himself in the corner, narrowly missing the conversion from wide out on the left.

Selby then brought on their peroxide blond forwards Wotton and Parkinson and immediately they were to the fore punching holes in the Park midfield as Selby regained the upper hand. A collective effort then saw Alex Webster score his second try converted by Bramley, as the final action of the first half extended the score to 21-12 in Selby’s favour.

Immediately on the restart Selby seemed determined to show they now wanted to entertain the large crowd as Bennett and Lodge executed round the back passes, the forwards recycled and the ball was spread to left corner where Jamie Dentith scored from six metres out, his longest range effort in an excellent try scoring season. Replacement Henry Wright’s conversion hit the post but Selby were now in a commanding position at 26-12.

Two minutes later and with possession retained Matty Lodge broke through the middle of the visitors’ defence to score a fine solo effort, making the score 31-12 after just six second half minutes and easing the nerves of supporters and players alike.

Both sides used their replacements sparingly now and the biggest cheer saw the returning Adam Leetham replace Selby’s only ever present this season Joey Reid, with Duncan Hardy back on for Max Wotton as fitness became a factor and the Selby eight began to get on top.

Wright then showed his class on two occasions as firstly a beautifully weighted kick earned his side a 50/20 which was wasted by crossing in midfield from the resulting line out, before a second kick to the corner saw the ball sit up nicely on the try line for the younger Scholefield brother Joe to easily outpace the Birkenhead Park defence and touch down in the corner. The difficult conversion from wide out on the right was missed, but with ten minutes remaining Selby were comfortable at 36 points to 12.

The final score came with three minutes remaining as Ollie Weston showed his speed swerve and sidestep to put the icing on the cake of another excellent Selby performance. Wright converted to make the final score 43-12. Next week the season continues into May as Selby again travel some distance to take on Northampton Old Scouts in the semi final of the Papa John’s national competition, the winners being rewarded with a trip to Twickenham the following week. Watch out for more details online and “Good luck, fly high swans”.