REGIONAL 2 NORTH EAST
BRADFORD & BINGLEY 7 – 27 SELBY RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
On an emotionally charged afternoon, Selby were delighted to return from Bradford with another bonus point victory, however the large contingent of Selby supporters that made the trip over to Wagon Lane shared a sense of frustration as the score-line barely reflects the visitors superiority in most facets of the game and numerous scoring opportunities were squandered following some excellent build up play.
Playing towards the Clubhouse in the first half, Selby again made a positive start to the match, forcing the home side onto the back foot from the kick off. Unfortunately, both sides struggled throughout the afternoon to hold on to passes which were either dropped or knocked forward, so preventing any build up of momentum.
Selby managed to keep Bradford pinned in their own half and, after 8 minutes, forced a penalty at the breakdown with a Bradford defender failing to roll away at the tackle. Henry Wright was called upon by skipper Ashley Parkinson (who was making his 100th First XV appearance) to kick at goal. From just inside the 10 metre line, the kick was well struck and gave Selby a deserved early advantage. Unfortunately the re-start was not dealt with by the Selby forwards and a resulting penalty gave the Bees a first chance to put pressure on the Selby defence. The line out in the Selby 22 was easily won but when the ball was moved into mid-field, pressure from the Selby three quarters forced another dropped pass and the visitors were able to clear their lines from the resulting scrum.
With 15 minutes gone, Bradford were reduced to 14 men when their number 6 Bryn Adamson (son-in-law) stopped an almost certain try by not retreating at a second quick tap penalty inside the home side’s 22, his tackle giving the referee no option but to show a yellow card. Selby elected to kick to the corner but a knock on at the line out again gave the home defence some respite. A moment of excellent individual skill by George Stoker on 18 minutes finally gave Selby the reward that their dominance deserved. An attempted clearance by the home side’s fly half failed to make touch with Stoker making a clean catch between half way and 10 metres. Having side stepped his opposite number he then swerved outside the next defender to find himself with a clear run to the corner for a try that finally roused the Selby faithful. A fine conversion from Wright wide out on the left flank opened up a 10 point lead and raised the expectation level amongst the visiting supporters.
Indeed it looked like Selby might break free as the very next move among the Selby backs tore through the Bradford midfield but, with a clear 2 on 1 created, a wayward pass flew into touch and the opportunity was gone. A worrying stoppage after 25 minutes saw scrum half Danny Wilkinson stretchered from the field with what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury as Selby again put pressure on the Bradford try line. Having spotted an earlier infringement, the referee awarded Selby a penalty just 5 metres from the line and having only just returned to a full complement, Bradford were again reduced to 14 when the number 4 was shown a yellow card. With a clear advantage in the forwards, Selby opted for a scrum, a decision which proved absolutely correct as the Selby pack easily drove the home side back over their own line and Jamie Ibbetson was able to drop on the ball and claim the score. Another good conversion by Wright stretched the lead to 17 points and the hope was that Selby would kick on further from here.
Indecision and confusion at the kick off resulted in a penalty for the home side and gave the Bradford fly half his first chance at goal, however his kick drifted wide of the uprights and Selby were again able to return to the attack. A promising backline move by the home side saw Bob Robinson make a timely interception around the 10 metre line and as he looked certain to score a Bradford defender was able to haul him down just short of the line. To all intents and purposes it appeared that his momentum had carried him over for an excellent try, but the referee, who had struggled to keep pace with the attack, deemed that not to be the case and instead awarded the home side a penalty for a “double movement” much to the surprise of nearly everybody in the ground.
As half time approached, Selby extended their lead when another failed touch kick allowed the backs to launch a further attack, with the ball swung wide to the right flank where Dan Reid finally had space to stretch his legs. The speedy youngster easily outpaced the covering defence and a smart chip and chase from the 22 saw him re-gather his kick just 5 metres from the line and crash over for another fine individual score. Although Wright was unable to add the extras, Selby went into the break with a comfortable lead at 22 nil and the expectation of putting the home side to the sword in the second half
Unfortunately the promise was never realised as both teams continued to make basic errors with both passing and catching and the second half was a largely disjointed affair, punctuated by dropped passes and squandered scoring opportunities. Within minutes of the re-start, Selby managed to turn over ball at the breakdown and a break by Alex Webster in midfield created a clear overlap and a gilt-edged scoring opportunity, only for the pass to winger Stoker to fly into touch with the try line open.
Shortly afterwards Selby had another chance to pressurise the home line when, following a clean take at the line out by Jack Hebden, Bradford were penalised and the penalty was kicked to the corner. Disappointingly the throw at the resulting line out was not straight and Bees were once again able to clear downfield from the resulting scrum.
As the game continued in its disjointed fashion, another promising Selby move broke down as a result of a lack of precision, before Jamie Ibbetson was denied a second try with the referee again deciding in favour of the home side when he adjudged the ball to have been held up over the line following a strong drive from the base of a 5 metre scrum.
Selby finally got the reward their efforts deserved after 20 scoreless minutes had elapsed and following a scrum close to half way. Another well executed backs move saw Bob Robinson carve his way through the Bradford defence and his offload at the 22 gave Webster an easy run-in to claim the bonus point try. Wright’s kick drifted to the right of the posts but again the expectation level amongst the Selby support was raised.
Unsurprisingly on the afternoon, the kick off was not dealt with efficiently and Bradford were gifted possession in the Selby 22. For the first time in the game, the Selby defence were put under real pressure and they responded well, repeatedly preventing the home side from claiming any score and eventually turning the ball over. Trying to run the ball out from behind their own line proved to be an unwise choice as Selby were again penalised just metres from the line. Again the Bradford forwards battered away at the Selby defence which appeared to be weathering the storm until Sean Campbell was penalised and shown a yellow card. Still the Selby defence held firm, eventually forcing a knock on and clearing down to the 10 metre line from the resulting Scrum.
With further injury problems in the home side’s forwards, scrums became uncontested and this definitely worked in Bradford’s favour. From one such scrum on the Selby 22 Bradford finally got the score that their resilience deserved, as they quickly moved the ball to the wide channel on the left wing, eventually outflanking the Selby defence and creating the space for the winger to cross in the corner. An excellent conversion from close to touch completed the scoring with Bradford relieved to have kept the score within reasonable limits, Selby delighted to have secured 5 league points, but also able to reflect on missed opportunities which, against better opposition, might have proved costly.