After recent weeks difficulties in raising a side, this week the management were spoilt for choice with a host of extra men available for selection. Some returning from injury, some returning from other sports, and some, so far as their rugby careers were concerned, returning from the dead (it had been that long since they had last put their boots on!).
Selby in recent weeks have been posting some strong results and deservedly sat at the top of the table. The hosts on paper had the resources to challenge but no game was ever won on paper. This alleged talent had to be turned into a team performance to secure a victory and it was.
The match kicked off with Wharfedale playing uphill on a pleasant, dry, autumnal afternoon and soon it became clear that the breakdown was going to be fiercely contested and quite a bruising encounter at times. The hosts opened their account after several good phases of play and notable carries by second row Jacob Taylor in his first game for a month or two, the ball was spun out to the right wing where Stevie Pearson capitalized on the overlap and sped away to score. Rhodes was wayward with the extras from wide out but we were 5-0 up.
This was soon followed by the winger’s second try. This time centre Harry Croft made the initial inroads and the final pass to Pearson who had the pace to evade the two chasing defenders. Rhodes added the extras. 12-0.
Selby then found their feet and had their first notable period of possession and a chance to attack. They broke clear but good cover defence thwarted their chances and soon Wharfedale were back on the attack with strong running by hooker Adam Stubbs taking the ball into the opposition half. The ball went right again with good running lines and handling by Croft, Fred Hewetson and Sam Arkwright (despite still being drunk from the previous night’s cricket dinner). Industrious openside Olly Snowden then neatly put Pearson clear for his hat-trick. Rhodes was wayward again, 17-0.
A suspect box kick by scrum half Andy Hodgson was easily fielded by Selby and neatly kicked for touch down by the scoreboard to pressure the hosts. The line out was securely won and Taylor set off rampaging down the left wing, up past the scratching shed and into the 22 where he offloaded inside to the impressive Tom Burridge who crashed over to score. Surprise, surprise, Rhodsey missed another, 22-0.
Selby then managed to get themselves onto the new fangled electronic scoreboard. A cross field kick was neatly taken and the last defender beaten to score an unconverted try, 22-5.
Normal service soon resumed as another attacking play by the lads in the lighter green saw the ball out towards the right again. Sam ‘The Seal’ Arkwright with the well timed final pass for Pearson to score his 4th. Rhodsey added the extras (I guess it was straight infront?). Half time score 29-5.
The second half continued in a similar manner to the first with the hosts seeing the majority of possession and on the attack again. Play had moved into the Selby 22 and fly half Rhodes went blind and offloaded to Hewetson for the winger to touchdown. Rhodes missed the conversion, it was wide on the right and tricky, others weren’t. 34-5.
Tom Burridge then upheld family tradition and was yellow carded for careless foot placement on a Selby forward who’d collapsed under a maul. News soon spread that his brother didn’t fancy a full 80 either with the 2’s at York! The card made little difference to the status quo. Powerful runner Taylor had another bullocking run, this time down past the main stand after handing off their winger then having the pace to cover the 30m to the line. Rhodes missed, 39-5.
Olly Snowden added the next, now playing in the centre after the seal was clubbed and went off with a knock. This try was scored just to the left of the posts. Ideal for a right footed kicker like Rhodes. He missed it. 44-5
As the Selby lads tired, but never gave up, where the scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of the match and a lot more closely contested in many areas. The hosts ran in a further three tries. Firstly Hewetson after the ball went wide to the left, then another for Pearson after a move that went right. The final try was scored after Jack Kitching went on a charge down the left. He seemed more intent on looking for support than running all the way himself, then somehow just ended up in a heap on the floor. The ball was recycled and out to the right for Pearson to notch up his 6th, not bad for someone who was playing football last week. Rhodes added two more conversions, they must have been easy.
Final score, Wharfedale 3rd XV 63-5 Selby 2nd XV.
1. Tom Jackson
2. Adam Stubbs
3. James Huck
4. Jacob Taylor
5. Jack Kitching (C)
6. Charlie Lawn
7. Olly Snowden
8. Tom Burridge
9. Andrew Hodgson
10. Andrew Rhodes
11. Stephen Pearson
12. Harry Croft
13. Olly Whyte
14. Fred Hewetson
15. Sam Arkwright
16. Tom Carlisle
17. Thomas Walker
18. Dan Benson
19. Jim Bowers
Tries: – Pearson (6), Hewetson (2), Burridge, Taylor, Snowden.
Conversions: – Rhodes (4).