Selby RUFC 32 – 26 Old Crossleyans RUFC
Report by Ian Marlow (Posted by Stephen Ward)
Selby made it four wins from five with a hard-fought victory at home against West Yorkshire rivals, Old Crossleyans – and they did it the hard way playing with a man down for most of the match.
Both teams started at a high pace with defences on top but a defence-splitting flat pass from Josh Cruise sent speedster hooker Duncan Hardy on his way and, after Cruise had kicked on the return pass, prop Adam Leetham powered over for a great try and 7-0 lead early on. And Selby doubled the score to 14-0 after ten minutes when Jay Robinson broke the line from a scrum 60 metres out to hand on to flying full back Joe Ramsey who turned on the afterburners to scorch in for a superb try (albeit spoiled with a silly swan dive at the end – stop it before you drop it Joe!).
With the Swans seemingly in full control, some glass-half-empty types on the touchline were heard to murmur that it was ‘early doors still’, with plenty of time to muck it up – and how prescient they were as almost immediately Liam Hogan managed to throw a spanner in his own, and the team’s, works by getting himself red-carded, leaving his teammates to cover his ass for the next 65 minutes. The resultant penalty closed the gap and then when Selby lost the ball in their own 22, Crossleyans kicked it through for their excellent scrum-half, Ed Cockcroft, to score for 14-10 after twenty minutes. With Selby now in a state of disarray more indiscipline gifted a further three points, before yet another penalty saw Crocs take the lead 14-16 five minutes from half time.
With the Swans’ goose, and their chances for the match, now seemingly well and truly stuffed and cooked, Selby struck back with another superb long-range try as Robinson, again, made the break to feed the ever supporting Danny Wilkinson to outpace the defence for a try under the posts for 21-16 at mid-way.
Crossleyans were still firm favourites for the match but Selby produced a fabulous forty minutes of grit and determination that was a fitting testament to the renewed resilience the club has armed itself with over the last couple of years. With Selby’s scrummage again causing havoc to the opposition, chances came, and unfortunately went as they couldn’t be finished off - before it was Hardy’s turn for a yellow card for actually competing at the breakdown (which I don’t think is allowed anymore?) which left Selby two men down and wide open as Crossleyans moved the ball one way and then another for a well-crafted, and score-equalling, try out wide to Josh Hunt on the hour.
Selby continued to hang in there though, with Harrison Green and Ash Parkinson outstanding in defence, until Hardy’s return, whereupon another dominant Selby scrummage won a penalty which Cruise booted over for 24-21 with fifteen minutes to go. A storming return of the restart from Rob Bourke, carried on, inevitably, by Robinson, and then Harry Cruise made great ground before a Josh Cruise kick into the corner set up great position on Crossleyans line - and when Selby stole the ball, the pack set up position for Bourke, ably assisted by others shoving on his not inconsiderable backside, to drive over for 29-21 with ten minutes to go.
Another bruising return from Bourke at the restart, taken on by Quentin McGrory-Hill, set up position for a glorious chance to seal the win, but Josh Cruise’s exquisite chip and chase down the touchline was defeated by fate (a formidable adversary!) as the ball took a sideways bounce into touch at the last second - but all was not lost as Cruise converted a subsequent penalty for 32-21 with five minutes remaining. There was still time for Green to be carded, again for having the temerity to actually compete at the breakdown (not allowed!), with Crossleyans again taking advantage of the two-man advantage for Joel McFarlane to score a deserved and bonus-point securing try for the match to finish at 32-26 to the fabulous Swans.
Selby are away at struggling Keighley on Saturday, and their 4G pitch usually produces a fast, open, entertaining game, so supporters should be well rewarded. And players are reminded that it’s moulded boots only – or you will be playing in your socks!