After a winning start to their league campaign at Bridlington last week, the young Swans had an opportunity to thrill the large Selby crowd who had been waiting patiently all pre-season for the opening home fixture. With Skipper Alex Webster on a pre-planned holiday, Henry Wright was given the honour of captaining the side on his 50th appearance for the 1st XV.
Under a blazing sun both sides set off at a frenetic pace, Selby showing their attacking intent early on with a good counter attack from Ben Poskitt who fed winger Joe Ramsay who broke into the opposition’s 22 only to concede a penalty for crossing. This set the tone for the next 10 minutes as Selby kept probing through their forwards, with Dronfield somehow managing to clear their lines. After almost scoring in the bottom right corner after a kick through, Selby managed to turn over a Dronfield scrum on their own line with just 11 minutes played. Some quick inter play saw Ashley Parkinson make a barn storming run before managing to offload 5 metres from the line to Ben Poskitt who ran a great support line to cross under the sticks. Henry Wright’s conversion gave Selby an early 7 point advantage
It was Dronfield’s turn to exert some pressure from the kick off as they put together a series of drives on and around Selby’s 22. Selby’s disciplined defence managed to keep them out but with Dronfield having most of the possession it was only a matter of time before Selby gave away a penalty. Fortunately for the home side, Farrell missed the kick at goal and Selby managed to clear their lines.
After a much needed water break Selby scored a terrific try from deep in their own territory. Following a scrum on their own 22, Jamie Ibbetson broke to the blind-side before feeding Archie Bennett who changed the direction of play with a switch to Adam Leetham. The ball was recycled quickly and some slick handling by James Bramley put winger Joe Ramsay into space allowing him to race over in the left hand corner. Despite the missed conversion by Henry Wright, Selby found themselves 12 points up with 25 minutes played.
Dronfield were eventually able to reduce the deficit on 36 minutes having been able to camp themselves in Selby’s 22 and forcing a number of infringements around the ruck until Adam Leetham was singled out for the sin bin after the home side’s 4th consecutive penalty. Farrell was successful with the kick to bring the score to 12-3 in Selby’s favour. Selby kicked off deep into Dronfield’s 22 and forced a clearance to touch. Selby’s line out on half way was won cleanly, and shipped quickly through the backline with James Bramley making a half break. Quick recycling saw Henry Wright chip the ball over Dronfield’s defence with Ben Poskitt collecting and feeding Joe Ramsay who looked favourite to cross the line. Some great defence by Dronfield forced Ramsey to chip ahead, with the ball ricocheting off the heels of Poskitt only for Archie Bennett to collect the loose ball and scurry over the line. A second successful conversion by Henry Wright gave Selby a 19 points to 3 lead going into the half time break.
Dronfield kicked off the second half and immediately Selby went on the attack with slick handling again from the Selby backs putting Joe Ramsay into space down the left hand touchline. After a 30 metre break he fed Archie Bennett who was hauled down 5 metres from the line. Selby were awarded the put in at a five metre scrum and a pick up and drive by Ibbetson set up a quick ball for Ashley Parkinson who drove over the line for the bonus point score within 2 minutes of the re-start. The conversion by Henry Wright stretched the Selby advantage to 23 points at 26-3.
The shock of the try straight after half time seemed to galvanise Dronfield who, when in possession showed plenty of skill and ambition. Moving the ball from left to right they stretched the Selby defence on several occasions. The net result was another Selby infringement for offside. Pinned on their own line Selby managed to keep the visitors from crashing over, but further ill discipline ended in another penalty which Dronfield kicked into the bottom corner. From the ensuing line out Dronfield drove over the Selby line only to be awarded a scrum on the 5 metre line. A powerful drive by the Dronfield pack enabled their number 8 Joe Cooke to pick up and drive over for a well deserved try with 47 minutes played. Farrell’s conversion reduced the deficit to 26-10. Selby kicked off and immediately went back on the attack, forcing Dronfield to stray offside. A quick kick to touch and Selby set up a good attacking line out. A clever move between the forwards saw hooker Jamie Dentith put in the clear and stride over from 20 metres out. The conversion was unsuccessful with the lead extended again at 31 points to 10
As both teams began to tire in the heat, it was Dronfield who started to dominate and again put some great phases of play together with forwards and backs combining well. After a stoppage for a nasty shoulder injury to George Stoker and a water break, Selby‘s discipline again started to let them down with 2 yellow cards given in quick succession handing Dronfield a significant advantage which they duly took advantage of. A try by Andrew Hodgson who squeezed over in the left hand corner and an excellent conversion by Farrell took the score to 31 – 17.
As Selby kicked off deep into the Dronfield half the visitors launched another desperate attack and made good progress into the Selby 22. A great tackle by James Bramley forced a turnover and Selby quickly shipped the ball down the line to feed speedster Ramsay. A Dronfield player was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on to stop the attack, resulting in a yellow card for Longden. Selby again opted to kick to the corner for one last attack. A quick ball off the lineout and a great run by Joey Reid created space for Dan Reid to scamper into the corner for a great team try. The conversion from inches in from the right hand touchline was understandably missed by Henry Wright whose kick drifted to the left of the posts
As the clock ticked down Dronfield showed they were still not finished and put a series of phases together before launching an attack down the left hand side and slick hands enabled Farrell to sneak over. He duly kicked the conversion to make the final score 36- 24 in favour of the home side.
Played on a blistering hot afternoon the pace and skill level of both teams was fantastic. For the majority of the game Selby were in control and their combination of power, skill and pace put them into a commanding position on the score board. As the heat took its toll Selby’s discipline began to wane in the last 10-15 minutes. The Selby coach will be aware that too many needless penalties were conceded in our 22 and, although better than last week, it’s something that the team will need to work on for the challenges they will face throughout the season.