REGIONAL 2 NORTH EAST
SCARBOROUGH RUFC 34 – 26 SELBY RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
A disastrous first ten minutes, during which Scarborough rattled up 17 points, ultimately cost Selby the chance of claiming an away victory, but it is to the squad’s great credit that, despite late changes, a number of youngsters making their 1st XV debut and several players playing out of position, for the remaining 70 minutes Selby were more than a match for a team currently in 5th position in the League and were able to secure a 4 try bonus point with the last play of the game.
The game was barely 2 minutes old when home centre Little scored under the sticks, a kick out of defence from Selby having been gathered on the 10 metre line, the Scarborough forwards retaining possession through multiple phases before a gap appeared in the middle of the Selby line and Little was left with an easy run in. Ratcliffe added the simple conversion and directly from the kick off added a further 3 points when Selby were penalised for not releasing in the tackle. Scarborough’s second try followed soon after when Selby were again penalised, a quick tap was taken and with the defensive line in disarray, home winger Long crossed to the right of the posts, presenting Ratcliffe with another straightforward conversion.
Despite enjoying the majority of possession, Scarborough were unable to add to their score for the remainder of the half as, step by step, Selby began to assert themselves in both attack and defence eventually driving the home side back into their own 22 as pressure at the breakdown forced a number of penalties. With half time approaching Selby had a couple of kickable penalties close to the Scarborough line but having started to get on top in the tight, opted for the scrum instead, however a mix up at the feed allowed Scarborough to turn possession over and clear their lines to maintain their 17 point advantage at the break.
The start of the second half was almost a copy of the first half, but this time it was Selby who were calling the shots. A knock on at the kick off caught a Scarborough forward offside and Selby were able to kick down to the corner. A safe catch in the line out and secure handling created the space for Selby’s man of the match Bob Robinson to cross about 8 metres in from touch. Henry Wright struck a fine conversion and Selby suddenly had belief that they could turn things around. From the kick off Selby were straight back onto the attack as replacement Harrison Green, returning from his earlier broken thumb, stormed through the middle of the Scarborough defence, backs and forwards combined through several phases and Matthew Wood was on hand to crash over and reduce the deficit to 5 points, Wright’s conversion drifting wide of the posts.
The sting was soon taken out of the Selby recovery when a penalty for playing the ball on the floor gave Ratcliffe another easy kick at goal and calmed the home side’s nerves as they extended the lead to 8 points at 20-12. Although Selby were soon back into the Scarborough 22 a penalty for not releasing in the tackle just 5 metres from the line gave Scarborough an easy way out and helped to increase the home side’s confidence as they forged their way up field. A couple of wayward clearances and fairly ineffective kick chases cost Selby dear as Scarborough twice ran the ball back deep into the Selby 22 and secure offloading by the forwards first created a try for hooker Lyon and then for back row forward Govier. Ratcliffe added the extras to both scores and at 34 points to 12 it appeared to be “game over”.
Selby’s youngsters were determined to have the last word and began to attack from all areas of the pitch, forwards and backs handling and supporting as play switched from one side of the pitch to the other. 75 minutes had elapsed when Selby eventually got the reward that their enterprising play deserved, when another patient build up and smart handling created the space for Jamie Francis to cross wide out on the right. Wright’s conversion was well struck and gave Selby the impetus to have a real go at gaining the bonus point try. An earlier significant break for an injury to the Scarborough Scrum half meant that there were to be over 5 minutes of time added on and it was deep into the 85th minute when the opportunity arose. Selby forced a penalty in the Scarborough 22 and instead of opting for a scrum or a kick to the corner took a quick tap. Number 8 Jamie Ibbetson drove at the line, committing a number of the Scarborough defenders and when the ball was moved swiftly to the right, debutant Joe Styrin was given the space to run round close enough to the posts to make Wright’s conversion, the final kick of another entertaining match, pretty much a formality and close proceedings with Scarborough enjoying a 34 points to 26 victory.