Scarborough RUFC 19 - 25 Selby RUFC
Scott Hunt delivers again ....... with Selby bringing to an end Scarborough's 5 match winning run and guaranteeing their Yorkshire 1 status.
Scarborough RUFC 19 – 25 Selby RUFC
Report by Ray Adamson
For the second successive season Selby faced their last fixture, against Scarborough, knowing that only a bonus point victory would be sufficient to guarantee their Yorkshire 1 status for the 2017-18 season and for the second successive season they produced the goods with a dramatic late score to claim the bonus point and a terrific rearguard action in the closing minutes to hold on for another memorable victory.
Given that opponents Scarborough were on a 5 match unbeaten run and had previously lost just 1 home fixture all season, the task seemed a formidable one and the game was barely 5 minutes old before it became even greater, the home side being awarded a penalty which they kicked to the corner to set up a clinical catch and drive from the ensuing Line Out. The Scarborough talisman Isaac Faamau, playing his last game for the Club before returning to the Southern Hemisphere, was credited with the score and a fine conversion from Fly Half Tom Ratcliffe gave the seasiders an early advantage with the benefit of a gusty wind blowing diagonally down the field at their backs.
Despite the early setback, Selby seemed unfazed and soon began to make their mark, switching play and moving the Scarborough Forwards around the park as they probed for an opening in the home side’s defence. With the game approaching the quarter of an hour mark Selby got just reward for their enterprise when a Scrum on the Scarborough 10 metre line was comfortably won and the ball moved quickly through the hands to Centre Alex Webster who made the most of the half chance offered to run in for a fine individual try. Full Back Scott Hunt levelled the scores with an excellent conversion in the difficult conditions to further boost the visitor’s confidence and belief. With Selby’s considerable travelling support hoping to reach half time without too great a deficit, the players clearly had other ideas as they tore into their higher placed opponents both in defence and attack and with 33 minutes played the visitors took a deserved lead when excellent handling between backs and forwards created a 3 on 2 down the right flank and Ben Lunt and Webster conjured up the space to put young winger Harry Cruise in for his third try in as many games. Although Hunt was unable to hit the target with the difficult kick he soon made amends and extended his side’s advantage to 8 points shortly before the interval when a high tackle on Lunt was eventually brought back and the Full Back calmly slotted the penalty kick.
If the Selby faithful were unable to believe the half time score, what happened after the re-start left them in no doubt that the Selby players clearly meant business and were prepared to give their all to maintaining their place in Yorkshire 1. From the first play of the second half Scarborough were forced into conceding a penalty at the breakdown and the kick to the corner presented Selby with an early scoring opportunity. The Line Out was won cleanly and a tremendous forward surge saw Prop Forward Duncan Hardy driven over for his 13th try of the season, establishing a very useful 13 point lead as Hunt narrowly missed with the conversion. Any thoughts of a comfortable second half were quickly dispelled as the home side stormed back up-field and another catch and drive saw Faamau crash over for his second try of the afternoon and Harrison’s excellent conversion reduced the deficit to less than a converted try. The Fly Half was shown a yellow card just 5 minutes afterwards for stamping at a Ruck, but Selby were unable to take advantage of their extra man in the 10 minutes that he was off the pitch. His impact on returning to the field was immediate as he orchestrated a fine three quarter handling move which resulted in a try for Centre Tom Ratcliffe and which saw Alex Webster replaced by Josh Cruise following a clash of heads with Harry Cruise when trying to prevent the score. Harrison was unable to match his previous effort but the score at 20-19 in Selby’s favour ensured a nervy but exciting finale. When Selby forced their way into the Scarborough 22 with just a couple of minutes of normal time remaining, the home forwards again conceded a penalty just a few metres from their line and just to the right of the posts. With a large number of the substantial crowd expecting a kick at goal, Selby instead bravely opted for a scrum as they went in search of the bonus point try. Their first attempt, a push over, almost brought about the score but when the drive was halted the ball was moved quickly to Full Back Hunt who crashed over from short range to claim the bonus point. Josh Cruise was unable to add the extras and Selby faced a frantic few minutes as the referee decided there had been over 10 minutes of injury stoppages. With a converted try needed for victory, Scarborough threw everything they had into attack, forcing numerous scrums and penalties as Selby gave everything in defending their line. When Number 8 Josh Booth was yellow carded in the 6th minute of injury time it seemed that fate was going to turn against Selby’s valiant rearguard, but somehow they managed to force themselves to keep tackling anything that moved, desperately clinging on to secure the victory which rendered results in the other relegation battles meaningless as far as Selby were concerned.
As it turned out, the team relegated along with Acklam proved to be Yarnbury. Their bonus point in defeat at Keighley drew them level on points with North Ribblesdale, but the Settle based side remain in Yorkshire 1 courtesy of having secured more League wins over the course of another exhausting season.