Selby RUFC 39 – 30 Beverley RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow (Posted by Stephen Ward)
Selby Swans avoided relegation and secured their place in Yorkshire One for the following season, without the perennial need to win their final match, with a nerve-shredding victory in their penultimate game against East Yorkshire opponents Beverley.
Desperately needing the win and in front of a large Sandhill Lane crowd bolstered by the presence of the clubs wonderful sponsors, Selby set off as if they meant it and earned an early penalty stroked over by fly half Josh Cruise – the first of a number of excellent, and ultimately vital, kicks at goal. An interception try from second row Stephen Clark, who streaked home from halfway shortly after for a 10-0 lead, settled Selby nerves, and even raised hopes of a comfortable afternoon to come, but the very youthful Beverley side then served warning that they had no intentions of being the day’s fall guys with some superb handling for an ominous try of their own; and then converted a further penalty to close the scores to 10-8.
With Selby getting on top in the tight, particularly in the scrum, a plentiful supply of ball was being won, but in the loose and wide out the Beverley youngsters looked electric and capable of breaching the Swans defence at any moment, and from any distance. A golden chance for Beverley to take the lead went begging as they knocked on with the line in sight and Selby punished the error as they marched back up field for scrum half Danny Wilkinson to dummy his way over from short range after excellent recycling work by the forwards. And when James Robinson finished off some fantastic handling from Clark, Millar McCoy and Tom Edwards for a long range try and 24-8 half time lead, Selby nerves were re-settled.
From the restart more great work from Clark and then Liam Hogan opened the way for Ash Parkinson to crash over to extend the lead to a seemingly impregnable 29-8, and with Selby in the ascendency it was looking like game over for the Beavers. However, those who have supported the Swans for any length of time will know that with the pleasure, also often comes the pain - and so it proved again as Selby pressed the self-destruct button for an all too familiar collapse, with Beverley running riot to score four cracking tries in quick succession, all of them taking advantage of Selby errors in good attacking positions. With Selby’s only response a solitary Cruise penalty, the score was suddenly 32-30, leaving the match, and Selby’s Yorkshire One existence, precariously balanced.
With the clock ticking down agonisingly slowly and their defences looking wide open, Selby continued to play with fire, and to Beverley’s strengths, by throwing the ball wide and gifting back possession as over-ambitious passes went to ground. Another blistering break by Beverley looked odds on for a try but a great cover tackle by Eddie Brown, and then work at the breakdown by Harry Cruise won the penalty – and then an unexpected bonus for Selby as a Beverley player rather inanely, and maybe terminally for their cause, compounded it by getting sin-binned for dissent. Selby took advantage of the extra man as they, at last, stuck the ball up their forward jumpers to gain some sustained possession to set up camp on the Beaver’s line - where Brown finally put the match, the season, and Selby anguish to bed as he forced his way over from a five yard scrum for a final 39-30 score line.
Swans supporters now have the luxury, for the first time in five years, of not having to worry about winning the season’s final match at Hullensians to avoid relegation – and how we shall enjoy it!