Under 15 - Report
Decidedly miserable weather conditions in the early evening meant the portents for a good game of rugby under the lights were slim and whilst it did indeed prove to be a filthy night in Goole (which would have been right up Gary Wakes' street), 2 keen set
Pre-match discussion revealed both sets of coaches' primary concern was a potential drowning incident but with one Selby coach sporting Rescue Diver qualifications, the match was on!
Selby welcomed back Edward Kelly and Ben Asquith after injuries while Sam Stevenson and Luke Trott made their debuts.
Goole had a couple playing up from the U14s to gain experience and they proved keen as mustard.
Full benches for both teams meant space in the only sheltered accommodation available (the dugouts) was at a premium and decidedly smelly on occasion on account of someone's spicy meal consumed earlier - the culprit knows who he is.
Selby played from right to left in the first half and from the kick off, the game's style was set with the Selby forwards picking and driving through their forwards led brilliantly by Captain Will Dennis, Luke Trott and Henry Levett (knuckling down to what proved to be his strongest display of tight forward play to date).
This gave great forward momentum to the rest of the pack with Jack Hebden, Charles Edmundson, Harry O'Gara able to run forward onto the breakdown and drive beyond the ball - happy days for scrum half Bruce Skelton getting a start in the torrential conditions.
Goole defended with gusto but it was inevitable that this pressure would tell and after 5 minutes, scavenging play by Alex Maguire-France turned over a loose ball, Will Dennis drove over and George Dobson-Wright scored down the blindside from 40m out on the far side of the pitch (converted by Ed Kelly).
Despite continually whingeing about the cold, GDW was starting what would turn out to be to be an outstanding display of blindside flanking.
From the restart, Selby returned the ball strongly through their forwards with half backs Skelton and Kelly cleverly driving their runners in short, getting strong carries in central midfield from Fothergill and Spowage with Asquith and Black coming in off their wings and inevitably Captain Fantastic ploughed over from 20 metres to score, carving a furrow that any jozzer would be proud of.
Not a tricky conversion, but Kelly elected to slip over backwards on his bottom, bludgeoning the ball wide. GDW continued to whinge.
The rain continued to come down with an enthusiasm only bettered by the Goole 7 and 10 who now entered a fantastic period of individual play as they led a magnificently, spirited come-back up to half time, with the fly half (playing up from U14s) duly scoring in the far corner sliding in from 20 metres through a puddle worthy of face mask and snorkel. The conversion was missed, GDW continued to whinge and Selby were leading 12-5 at half-time.
Gary Wakes would have been proud with the turn-out. Both teams were able to make mass substitutions at half time and this seemed to benefit Selby who made a strong start to the second half.
New boys Sam Stevenson (sporting a full set grown in the first half) and Luke Trott, stepped up to the mark and this at last gave Henry Levett a bit of freedom to run with the ball. After 3 or 4 juggles, Henry set off down the narrow side and disappointingly managed to break through only 6 tackles before grounding the ball just 5 minutes into the half, Stoker converted. GDW continued to whinge.
Although Goole resisted with great bravery and spirit, Selby were starting to get the upper hand and with no sign of a break in the weather, their outside backs cleverly decided to sling the ball about a bit in an uncharacteristic display of risk-free rugby.
Stevenson (looking increasingly Victorian) turned over a ball in midfield, Cruise and Wilson moved the ball wide, opening up an attacking run down the right wing through Danny Wilkinson who, at full height was just managing to keep his nose out of the water. Given the quagmire and a ball that was about as easy to handle as Charlie Fothergill's soap on a rope, the inter-play that Danny and George Stoker pulled off between them was simply outstanding. As Danny drifted in off the wing, he was half tackled, popping the ball out of the tackle to Selby's Ginger Whinger, himself at full throttle on a sharp scissors (that unfortunately went nowhere near his permed hair) set off towards the corner flag. Meanwhile, Danny bobbed back to the surface of his puddle like a cork and bounced off after Stoker in close support to receive George's offload out of the brilliant cover tackle put in by aquaplaning Goole's 10 to dive in to score in the corner. An incredibly difficult conversion was knocked over by the Selby 15 in a manner as nonchalant as Lionel Messi. GDW continued to whinge.
Into the last 10 minutes and Selby's forward strength finally overpowered the Goole XV, who never gave up, but ran out of steam (metaphorically speaking – too cold to raise any steam on the night). 2 late tries from Cruise and Cook with one conversion saw Selby run out winners at 38-5. GDW whinging at every opportunity.
It finished the same as it started, the rain bouncing down, everyone frozen, but somehow in-between, these 2 squads of U15s pulled it off and the sizeable crowd were privileged to somehow witness a great occasion in full keeping with the spirit of the Memorial Trophy duly presented to an effervescing and effusive Selby Captain in the crowded clubhouse. Gary – you'd have enjoyed that I'm sure.