Moortown RUFC 31 - 16 Selby RUFC
Injuries to key players scupper Selby's game plan after an excellent first 30 minutes with Moortown dominating much of the second half.
In perfect conditions for Rugby, and facing promoted opposition who had a 100% record in Yorkshire 2 last season, Selby took the kick off and proceeded to dominate the first 20 minutes of the match, deservedly taking the lead after 3 minutes when Moortown were caught offside – fly half Josh Cruise kicked the penalty. Five minutes later Selby increased their lead when Moortown were penalised for blatantly ‘going over the top’ with Cruise once again successful with the penalty chance giving Selby a 6 points to nil advantage. Selby continued to dominate but Moortown, completely against the run of play, reduced their arrears in the 20th minute with a try in the corner after Selby lost the ball in the tackle on the Moortown 15 metre line – the ball was hacked into the Selby 22 with winger Bobby Taylor gathering the ball and touching down for an unconverted try. Selby’s game plan was then thrown into confusion with both fly half Josh Cruise and winger Ben Lunt having to leave the field with injuries in the space of 5 minutes. Cruise was replaced by his brother Harry and young Adam Leetham came on in place of Lunt – Charlie Cicero switched to centre. However, Selby continued to attack and a glorious opportunity down the right was spurned when, with the winger in the clear, the ball was knocked on. After 29 minutes Selby did increase their lead after an astute kick through the Moortown defence by centre Alex Webster brought Selby a line out – a successful catch and drive resulted in a try credited to second row forward Ashley Parkinson – Scott Hunt, taking over the kicking duties from the injured Cruise kicked the conversion to put Selby in front by 13 points to 5. Andrew Tunningley replaced Millar McCoy at this stage of the game. Moortown were now coming more and more into the game with their pressure telling in a disastrous 3 minute spell for Selby just before the half time break. After 37 minutes and after a series of line outs and penalties on the Selby 5 metre line the ball was spread wide for fly half Daryl Gaunt to score and convert his own try. Three minutes later Moortown took a 19 points to 13 lead with the ball being run down the left and then spread wide for winger Bobby Taylor to score his second try with Gaunt converting. The half time whistle came as a relief to an under-siege Selby side.
Four minutes into the second half a ‘handling in the ruck’ offence by Moortown 30 metres out gave Selby a penalty chance – Scott Hunt’s attempt glanced off the upright and fell between the posts to bring Selby to within 3 points of Moortown but that’s about as good as it got for Selby for the rest of the game. Moortown had a great chance to increase their lead after 51 minutes but their winger dropped the ball with the line at his mercy. However, after 64 minutes they did increase their lead with full back Joe Harrison scoring in the corner after a kick through the Selby defence enabled the speedy full back to win the race for the touchdown – Gaunt failed with the conversion but Moortown had a useful 24 points to 16 advantage. More misfortune struck Selby when second row forward James Hunt had to leave the field injured after 69 minutes. Moortown ‘put the game to bed’ after 72 minutes with another try, this time from flanker Alex Smith – Gaunt kicked the conversion to give Moortown victory by 31 points to 16.
There were many positives to take from the game for Selby – indeed, for much of the first half they looked the better side and but for injuries the final outcome may have been different. The forwards more than matched their opponents but because of injuries and the subsequent re-organisation that Selby were forced into, Moortown gained the upper hand and their tactic of kicking through the Selby defence for the benefit of their speedy back division was probably the difference between the sides. There were useful contributions from debutants Rhys Allott, Jack Cockerham, Quinton McGrory-Hill and Tom Edwards.