Selby RUFC 43 v 25 Dinnington RUFC
On a gloriously sunny afternoon, the large crowd at Sandhill Lane were treated to a real feast of Rugby by two sides with contrasting playing styles in a thrilling match which saw the lead change no fewer than seven times with Selby pulling away in the final ten minutes as their superior fitness and a yellow card for a deliberate knock on by one of the Dinnington three quarters proved decisive.
Selby saw Tom Nicholson making his First XV debut, having recently represented Yorkshire Under 20s and he gave an assured and man of the match performance at full back as Selby looked to move the ball wide at every opportunity whilst the visitors elected for a much tighter, forward dominated game plan.
Although Selby were first to attack it was Dinnington who opened the scoring after just 4 minutes when possession was conceded, and a couple of penalties soon presented Oli Breedon with a simple kick at goal to get his side on the board. As both sides then probed for weaknesses, a couple of further penalties, one to each side, saw Henry Wright level things up and then Breedon re-establish the lead with 10 minutes on the clock.
Both sides struggled for fluency in their play until the game moved into the second quarter and a well rehearsed move from the Selby backs following another dominant scrum in the Dinnington 22 saw Tom Nicholson hit the perfect line to carve open the Dinnington defence to score a debut try, presenting Wright with a straightforward conversion to put the home side in front for the first time at 10-6.
From the re-start, Dinnington were on the offensive and another penalty conceded inside the 10 metre line allowed the visitors to kick for the corner and set up a position from which their powerful forwards claimed the line out and drove the Selby pack back to their own line, creating an easy opportunity for Ronan Pengkerego to crash over. Breedon’s third successful kick at goal re-established a three point advantage at 13-10.
The lead was however short lived as a swift counter attack just 3 minutes later, started back on the Selby 10 metre line by Alex Webster and continued through several pairs of hands until live wire scrum half Archie Bennett took the scoring pass to run in from the 22 for a try which really energised both his team mates and the home spectators. Wright’s second conversion restored Selby’s 4 point advantage at 17-13.
As play moved into time added on at the end of the first half, Dinnington again snatched the lead with a try that was almost a carbon copy of their first one. A penalty conceded a line out won cleanly and a powerful drive to the line this time created the space for Oli Breedon to touch down. His successful conversion was the last kick of the half and meant that the visitors held a 20-17 advantage at the break.
Just five minutes after the re-start Selby were back in the lead when another flowing movement involving forwards and backs eventually overwhelmed the visiting defenders and saw “Bob” Robinson gallop in from 35 metres for another thrilling score under the sticks which left Wright with the easiest of conversions and saw Selby back in front at 24-20. At this point many in the crowd were expecting that Selby’s apparent superior fitness would begin to tell, but Dinnington clearly had other ideas as they again turned to their forwards to lead the charge. Selby’s defence was severely tested as Dinnington re-cycled the ball efficiently and effectively to force the home side onto the back foot. Another penalty saw the ball kicked deep into the Selby 22 and eventually, after numerous pick and drives had been thwarted by Selby’s stubborn unwillingness to see their line breached again, Breedon spotted the tiniest of gaps and was able to cross wide out on the left hand side for his second try of the match. Although he was unable to make the conversion he had given his side the slenderest of leads at 25-24 with 15 minutes left to play.
The game had moved into the final 10 minutes when events took a crucial turn in Selby’s favour. As the Selby backs looked to again open up the visitors’ defence, one of the Dinnington three quarters was adjudged to have intentionally knocked on and was shown a yellow card by referee Phil Gordge. Despite being only a single point behind and having an easy chance of 3 points, Selby opted for an attacking scrum in the Dinnington 22. Although there was doubt amongst the Selby faithful on the side lines, an excellent move instigated by Wright saw him loop behind Nicholson and take the scoring pass before running round to give himself another easy conversion and restore Selby’s advantage at 31-25.
As well as claiming the try scoring bonus point and deflating the visitors, Wright’s score was a massive boost to his side and practically from the kick off Selby put the game out of sight as Dinnington were unable to match the energy and pace of the home side. A kick deep into the visitors 22 was fumbled by the covering winger as three Selby players descended upon him. The ball was quickly turned over and a couple of slick passes away from contact saw number 8 Sam Broughton in support and able to brush off any attempted tackle to give the Selby forwards reward for their outstanding effort all afternoon. The conversion by Wright opened up a 13 point advantage at 38-25, but the Selby forwards were keen to show that they weren’t done yet as they again tore into the flagging Dinnington defence to gain further reward when Ben Bell crossed for his first try in First XV colours with the game approaching injury time. Although Wright’s unsuccessful conversion failed to put the cherry on the icing, the whole Selby squad were able to celebrate another excellent performance and enjoy the well deserved reception from the many spectators gathered around the players’ tunnel.