REGIONAL 2 NORTH EAST
SELBY RUFC 0 – 48 MALTON & NORTON RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
Having enjoyed a comfortable victory in their opening game of the season, Selby’s young and relatively inexperienced side endured a tough afternoon against early League pacesetters Malton and Norton, whose simple game plan based around quick, resolute defence and movement and offloading in attack proved too much for a Selby backline which showed 6 changes from the side that beat Bridlington and which saw Thomas Gabel make his first team debut and two back row forwards drafted in to the Centres.
Although the Selby pack was able to get the better of their counterparts at the set scrum, once the ball was in open space, Malton & Norton quickly gained the upper hand, eventually running in 7 tries without conceding at all. In fairness to the Selby players who are new to this level of Rugby following their promotion last season, they could not be faulted for their willingness to compete throughout the 80 minutes of the match and were unfortunate to see Jamie Dentith forced off after just 20 minutes and Matthew Wood yellow-carded in the second quarter of the game.
Enjoying the benefit of the breeze in the first half, Malton & Norton were soon on the attack and ready to show how they intended to play. Despite the pressure put on them at the scrum, the visitors still managed to move the ball away quickly and so negate any advantage gained by the home forwards. Their pressured defence also helped contribute to the first three tries of the afternoon as Selby struggled to find any way out of their own half. The first try after just 9 minutes saw Selby lose possession in their 22 following an excellent try saving tackle by full back Joe Ramsay. Malton & Norton were able to quickly get their hands back on the ball and slick passing through the three quarters created the space out on the left for Ben Tenge to open the scoring for his side. Fly half James Bulmer, who controlled the game expertly for the visitors, added the conversion for an early 7 point lead.
Malton & Norton’s second score followed on 12 minutes as Selby again looked to play their way out of the 22 and a wayward pass in the centre was intercepted by one of the Malton & Norton three quarters and within a matter of seconds Ed Lockwood was in space with a clear run to the line. Bulmer’s excellent conversion from wide out on the right opened up a 14 point lead and a further penalty just 4 minutes later extended the gap to 17 points.
With Jamie Dentith substituted shortly after and Matthew Wood yellow carded for repeat technical infringements after 26 minutes, Malton & Norton made the most of their one man advantage, scoring a further 2 tries before the half time break, the first following a charged down kick which somewhat fortunately ballooned up into the arms of James Bulmer to run in unopposed before adding the conversion, the second following sustained pressure which saw Ali Fothergill cross near the posts, giving Bulmer another straight forward conversion and Malton & Norton a 31 point advantage going into the break.
The pattern for the start of the second half was very similar to what had gone before, with Malton & Norton quick to move the ball wide and stretch the home defence at every opportunity, a tactic which brought 2 further tries within the first 10 minutes, the first following a well worked line-out drill which saw Nick Salisbury driven over the Selby line and then a second try for Ed Lockwood. Although Bulmer was unable to convert either, the lead was already at 41 points with 30 minutes still left to play.
It is to Selby’s credit that they refused to buckle at this point and in fact produced their best spell of the game as they not only prevented any further score, but enjoyed 20 minutes of both territorial and possession advantage, forcing the visitors to concede a number of penalties and driving them back into their 22. The home forwards were rewarded with a couple of kickable penalties but the decision was made to opt for the scrum instead, and though Selby had little difficulty winning the ball, they found the Malton & Norton defence impenetrable and the visitors were able to keep their line intact before clearing the ball down field.
Having weathered the storm, Malton were to have the final say when ,after 73 minutes, Ryan Donaghy crossed for his sides 7th try of the afternoon and fittingly Bulmer added the conversion to complete the scoring at 48-nil in the visitors’ favour.