REGIONAL 2 NORTH EAST
SELBY RUFC 24 – 48 OLD BRODLEIANS RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
A growing injury list and an unfortunately timed Stag Weekend meant that Selby were forced into changing 10 players from the match day squad that had played the previous week against Scarborough. Although struggling at times to contain the physically superior players from Old Brodleians, no-one in the crowd could fault the commitment and effort of the players drafted in, who competed throughout and even managed to finish the stronger of the 2 teams.
Selby began positively, as they often have done this season, but somehow managed to fall behind after 8 minutes when Brodleians made their first meaningful attack and won a penalty which was converted from 25 metres by Matty Briggs. Just 4 minutes later Selby were rewarded for their enterprising start when Brodleians were caught offside on their 22 and Henry Wright slotted a straightforward kick from in front of the posts to level the scores at 3 all.
As both sides fought to gain control, it was the visitors who looked most likely to do so when, after 19 minutes, Selby Number 8 Ben Bell was penalised and yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in midfield. With a physical and numerical advantage, Brodleians opted to kick for the corner and after going through the phases looked destined to score, only for Selby full back, Dan Reid to judge the play perfectly and intercept the try scoring pass just a couple of metres from the line. With the entire field in front of him, Selby’s young speedster was off on a length of the pitch run with no defenders able to get anywhere near him as he crossed under the sticks for a memorable try which left Wright with the simplest of conversions and a 10-3 advantage to the home side.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got for Selby as Brodleians turned to their forwards to assume control of the game for the majority of the time left. Two converted tries followed in quick succession before Bell returned to the fray after his 10 minute spell in the sin bin and Brodleians extended their lead to 22-10 at half time by crossing for another try wide out on the right flank as the clock moved into injury time.
Selby’s influential scrum half Danny Wilkinson, who was Skipper for the day, was unable to return for the second half which put enormous pressure on young replacement Charlie Bramley who was asked to fill in a position that he hadn’t played since his time in Junior Rugby. Despite the pressure his forwards were under, Charlie did an excellent job for the team, moving the ball away quickly when needed and bravely defending the edges when Brodleians forwards targeted him at the breakdown. However there seemed a certain inevitability about things as the game progressed with the Brodleians forwards enjoying the upper hand and sapping the energy of the home side defenders with their relentless drives at the gain line.
A second yellow card after 55 minutes did little to help Selby’s cause and the visitors were able to add a further 4 tries, including a hat trick score for influential centre Loketi Manu who took his personal match total to 25 points by adding 5 successful conversions. At 48 points to 10 down with just a few minutes left on the clock, most of the conversations in the stand centred around the likelihood of the visitors crossing the 50 point mark, however Selby’s youngsters somehow found the energy and resilience to hit back themselves. Playing with freedom and a willingness to throw the ball about, Selby were rewarded for their enterprise when after 79 minutes and following a passage of flowing rugby, Henry Wright finished off an excellent move which was greeted with a cheer to match the one heard as Dan Reid set off on his lung bursting run to the line. Wright converted his own try and as the clock moved into injury time, one final attack saw the Selby three quarters again carve open the Brodleians defence with Wright claiming his second try in a matter of minutes. His successful conversion gave him a match haul of 19 points and gave the final score a much more respectable look, at 24-48, than at one point looked likely.
The next three weeks’ fixtures will undoubtedly have a significant bearing on Selby’s season as they face Dronfield away, bottom Club Bradford and Bingley at home and then host Dronfield in the reverse fixture. If they are in a position to select from strength and are able to play to the top of their game, there is no reason why they should not come away with 3 victories, an outcome that would greatly improve their standing in what is proving to be a challenging League