REGIONAL 2 NORTH EAST
SELBY RUFC 20 v 23 SCARBOROUGH RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
Another battling performance by Selby against high flying Scarborough brought the home side within touching distance of what would have been an excellent and deserved victory in a pulsating encounter at Sandhill Lane.
Despite playing against the elements in the first half, Selby were quickly onto the front foot and earned quick reward when, after just 5 minutes, the visitors were penalised at the breakdown within kicking distance and Henry Wright hit a well struck penalty to open Selby’s account and lay down a marker to the visitors from the East Coast.
The home side were dealt a massive blow after just 11 minutes when the returning Sam Weller, who has made in excess of 150 1st team appearances including a season as Captain of the side, was forced from the field with a badly torn calf. With no back replacement on the bench, Selby were forced into a re-shuffle which saw Jamie Ibbetson asked to fill the midfield void, his place at 8 taken by Matthew Wood with Sean Campbell moving into the second row. Understandably the changes of personnel caused a temporary loss of cohesion and Scarborough were soon able to capitalise with influential fly half Tom Ratcliffe firstly levelling the scores with a penalty after 15 minutes and then converting a try by Tom Harrison after 25 minutes as Scarborough moved into the ascendency and started to play the expansive style of rugby which has brought them considerable success already this season.
Undaunted, Selby continued to match fire with fire and drew level on 33 minutes with an excellent try of their own. A perfectly weighted chip by Wright over the Scarborough left winger’s shoulder was gathered at pace by Dan Reid on the 10 metre Line. Reid charged on into the visitors’ 22 before drawing the last defender and giving the try-scoring pass to Harrison Green who had read the situation to perfection and had the speed and strength to crash over despite the attention of a couple of Scarborough defenders. Wright’s conversion was just reward for his contribution to the move and the game was once again all square at 10 all.
Scarborough returned to attack from the kick off, forcing a couple of penalties which presented Ratcliffe with further chances to re-establish a lead and after an unsuccessful attempt after 35 minutes he eventually found his range again just before the half time break to give his side a slender lead at 13-10. Wright was also unable to convert a penalty for the home side on the very stroke of half time which meant the visitors went into the break with a slender 3 point cushion.
Scarborough flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half and within the blink of an eye had extended their lead to 10 points. The kick off was judged to perfection and the Scarborough forwards were able to re-claim possession. Just 2 minutes later and without giving the Selby defence the slightest chance of turning the ball over, Scarborough finally outflanked the home cover, with Drew Govier crossing wide out on the left. Tom Harrison, who had assumed kicking duties following Ratcliffe’s departure at half time, added the extras and the visitors held a 2 score advantage at 20 points to 10.
Once again Selby reacted positively, driving the visitors’ defence onto the back foot and again forcing them to concede a penalty which Wright gratefully converted, meaning that Selby were again in a position to at least claim a losing bonus point. As play switched from end to end, it always felt as if more scores were inevitable and it was the visitors who re-gained the initiative with Harrison re-establishing the 10 point cushion with a further penalty after 54 minutes. Following the score Duncan Hardy made way for Andrew Case to make his First XV debut in the front row, some 11 years after he first joined the Club.
Despite enjoying plenty of possession and territorial advantage, Selby were finding it difficult to breakdown Scarborough’s resilient defence as the game moved towards the final whistle. Having forced a 5 metre scrum, Selby made one final throw of the dice in the 79th minute by reversing the earlier substitution and returning Duncan Hardy to the fray. The move proved to be a very astute one as Selby forced the Scarborough 8 to concede a penalty and opted for the scrum again. As the Scarborough Scrum buckled under the Selby pressure the referee was left with little option but to award a Penalty try, also showing back row forward Will Renard a yellow card for his role in preventing the pushover.
Even then, the excitement continued for the sizeable crowd as Harrison first failed to convert a further penalty and Selby were then able to force the visitors to concede another penalty between half way and the 10 metre line. With the possibility of giving his forwards one final chance of an attacking line-out inside the Scarborough 22, Wright mis-judged his kick to the corner, the ball drifting into touch in goal and the referee blowing for full time once he had consulted with the Selby Touch Judge. The deflation amongst Selby players and spectators was palpable and members of both Clubs were left to reflect on an excellent game of Rugby as they made their way from the side of the pitch to the warmth of the Clubhouse.