Selby’s third team put on a classy performance, playing on the first team pitch against a competitive Leodiensians side to provide excellent entertainment for the Selby faithful who braved the chill to offer their support on Saturday.
Although the teams were well matched in the set piece at both Scrum and Line-out, the visitors struggled at times to contain the powerful surges of Alex Bissell, Jake Cockerham, Scott Birch and Kev Lamb who regularly broke the gain line to set up positions from which the Selby Three quarters could then move the ball to their speedy youngsters. Despite sharing possession and territory for the majority of the first half, Leo’s found themselves 28 points adrift at half time as Selby scored four tries under the posts which gave Matty Thompson the easiest of conversions.
The first try of the afternoon, with 15 minutes on the clock, saw young James Bramley capitalise on a break through the centre by Jake Cockerham to outpace the covering defence and gallop over from half way. If there was one disappointing aspect to Selby’s play it was a lack of discipline at the breakdown which saw them penalised regularly and resulted in yellow cards for Jim Abrams and Micky Parsonage, the second being shown less than a minute after he had been substituted onto the pitch. Selby however made light work of their disadvantage and a strong defensive effort kept Leo’s scoreless in spite of their superior numbers.
Powerful second row forward Alex Bissell was the architect of the second Selby score as he burst through the heart of the Leo’s defence from inside his own half before a clever off load on the Leo’s 22 found Scott Birch in support for an easy run in and round under the sticks. That score was quickly followed by the first of a brace for Kev Lamb on Selby’s next visit to the Leo’s 22, his pick up and drive from the back of a quick ruck proving too powerful for the Leo’s defence who were scattered as he ran around under the posts to help Selby to a commanding 21-nil lead
For all Selby forwards’ powerful running, the fourth try of the afternoon showed that the Backs could be just as threatening as a sweeping handling move saw them draw in the Leo’s defence to create a clear overlap on the right wing and allow youngster Pat Keetley to run in from 25 metres to bring a very satisfying first half to its conclusion.
It is to Leo’s great credit that they continued to battle hard in the second half, which saw much greater balance in terms of tries scored with both sides crossing three times, Thompson managing one excellent conversion from wide out on the right whilst Leo’s were unable to add the extras to any of their scores. A couple of lapses in the Selby defence allowed Leo’s to turn over possession and use their own speedsters to launch counter attacks and cross wide out whilst Selby continued to profit from their more direct approach with good support work creating the scoring opportunities. Cockerham deservedly got his name onto the list of try scorers as well as creating the break that set up Scott Birch for his second try of the afternoon and, following a clean heel at a scrum on the Leo’s 22, Kev Lamb added to his first half score with a typical burst down the blind side, the defending winger given no chance of stopping him from crashing over.
When the referee blew for full time to confirm Selby’s 45 points to 15 victory. it was great to see the players from both sides congratulate each other on an entertaining game of Rugby, played in excellent spirit and for them to enjoy the acclaim of the spectators from both Clubs who had been treated to a spectacle of Social Rugby at its very best.