REGIONAL 2 NORTH EAST
SELBY RUFC 8 – 26 PONTEFRACT RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
Despite putting in another gutsy performance against a Pontefract side who maintained their position of second place in the League, Selby eventually succumbed to the sheer physical presence and quality of ball retention and support play which demonstrated why the visitors are enjoying such a successful season.
Selby can take great encouragement from the fact that they contained the Pontefract 8 in the set piece and that it wasn’t until the 6th minute of added on time in the second half that the visitors crossed for the try that secured a bonus point victory. In a game that was played at full tilt but with no malice, it seems strange that the referee showed a total of 6 yellow cards, evenly spread between the sides. Indeed it wasn’t until 25 minutes into the game that Pontefract were able to open their account and this when Selby were reduced to 14, having seen Ed Watson harshly sent to the sin bin for what the referee adjudged to be a deliberate knock on. Having gone through many phases the Pontefract attack could well have broken down had it not been for a piece of individual brilliance as the centre conjured up a pass through his legs to put Andy Coleman in at the corner for a try that full back Richard Dedicoat was unable to convert.
The second try followed as the game headed towards the break and, despite Selby’s defence repeatedly repelling the visitors’ powerful surges, the space was eventually created for Brodie Matthews to run round under the posts, giving Dedicoat a simple conversion and his side a 12-nil advantage with 35 minutes on the clock. Following the re-start it was Selby’s turn to pile pressure on the Pontefract defence with Tad Nyanjowa shown a yellow card for deliberately preventing quick ball at the ruck with his defence in some disarray. Selby turned down a couple of opportunities to kick for goal, electing instead to go for the line out, but the visitors were able to re-group and re-organise their defence, successfully preventing the home side from crossing the line before the referee blew for half time.
Buoyed by the positive end to the first half, it was Selby who started the second half on the front foot and within just over 5 minutes they were able to reduce the deficit to 12-3 when Henry Wright converted a penalty from in front of the posts just outside the 22 as Pontefract were again found guilty of offside at the break down. Despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Pontefract were unable to find any way through the stubborn Selby defence until 73 minutes and then only because the home side were reduced to 13 players when George Stoker’s try saving tackle was adjudged to be dangerously high and Duncan Hardy followed him to the sin bin at the next play having snatched the ball from the Pontefract attackers on the line, only for the referee to decide that the ball was still in the ruck. From the resulting penalty Pontefract were again able to engineer the space for Andy Coleman to outflank the Selby defence to cross for his second try of the afternoon, Dedicoat’s conversion easing the visitors’ lead to 19 points to 3.
When Pontefract were reduced to 14 courtesy of their second yellow card and Selby restored to 14 when George Stoker returned to the action, the home side deservedly reduced the gap by 5 points when, in the final minute of normal time, Henry Wright spotted Dan Reid wide out on his wing and put in a perfectly weighted kick that Reid was able to gather to cross by the corner flag, with Wright’s conversion drifting wide of the uprights. The game was into the 6th minute of added time when Pontefract were again able to breach the Selby defence with Craig Fawcett credited with the try and Dedicoat making no mistake with the conversion. However the game still wasn’t done as Selby again drove at the Pontefract defence and took play down to the 5 metre line where Nyanjowa was again found guilty of foul play at the breakdown and showed his second yellow and hence red carded. One last chance to throw everything at the Pontefract defence did however end in somewhat of an anti-climax as the ball was spilled forward inches from the line and the visitors were more than happy to clear the ball over the dead ball line to finally bring proceedings to a conclusion.