Home-grown side battle in vain

Selby v Old Rishworthians'Ben Sutcliffe
Selby v Old Rishworthians'Ben Sutcliffe

Old Rishworthians’ depleted pack struggled to cope with Selby’s much heavier, more experienced forwards in a 22-18 away defeat yesterday.

They battled well and just failed to break the home defence in the final minutes.

Selby are fighting to avoid relegation in Yorkshire One and threw everything at the visitors, who were driven back in the scrums and mauls with both regular props and skipper Fraser Swarbrooke missing.

But the talented teenagers in Rishworthians’ backs posed a threat whenever they moved the ball wide.

This season has demonstrated how far Rishworthians have progressed in recent years with much of it due to the success of their junior set-up. Eleven of their starting 15 at Selby have come through the junior ranks, including hooker Will Bowers, who was making his debut.

It was all Rishworthians in the opening minutes and scrum half Ed Cockroft soon put them ahead with a penalty.

But Selby’s pack then took charge and teenage backs Sam Nunn, with a brilliant tackle, and Sam Bake with an interception, twice saved Rishworthians before Selby powered over from a rolling maul.

The visitors hit back. No 8 Nick Faulkner stole the ball in a tackle and broke through, slipping it to teenage centre Ben Sutcliffe, who shrugged off a couple of tackles and raced to the line. Cockroft converted.

Selby hit straight back, though, with a converted pushover try to lead 12-10 at half-time.

Another forward drive brought a further converted Selby try early in the second half.

Cockroft reduced the arrears with a penalty only to find it cancelled out by one from the home side.

Rishworthians defended well under pressure from the home forwards but struggled to break through tackles, despite some great breaks from Nunn, Bake and replacements Doug Heseltine and Ben Waud.

Finally Rishworthians scored a classy try. From a scrum they got a quick heel and the ball went out for Heseltine to scythe through the defence before finding Anthony Shoesmith, who had come in from the left, and the winger raced over for an unconverted try.

Rishworthians have to feel pleased with the way they played despite an under-strength pack and came close to snatching it at the end.