North Ribblesdale 39 Selby 0
A burst of four tries in 15 first-half minutes enabled North Ribblesdale to end their season on a high note at Grove Park on Saturday.
Their backs took advantage of a firm pitch and favourable conditions to establish a 29-0 lead by half-time.
Despite the one-sided look on the scoreboard this was no rout. Selby defended well and their forwards matched the home pack, however they could not contain the effervescent home back line.
They were also unfortunate that the strong wind they played against in the first half lessened after the interval when it was at their backs.
Any concerns that the home supporters might have had when Ribb lost the first line-out were soon dispelled.
Steve Moon kicked a penalty to touch close to the Selby line. Willy Garth won possession at the line-out and that enabled Ethan Henare to drive from the maul.
When the ball was fed out to the backs, Steve Moon’s miss-move completely wrong footed the defence and Simon Bolland sauntered over under the posts for a try which Jonathan Richards converted.
A spell of Selby pressure was resisted by some strong Ribb defensive play. Eventually the industrious John Paddley turned over a loose ball and the home side had possession.
Drives by Sam Boatwright and Mick Carr took play to the right before a sharp break by Matt Speres gave Ryan Gill some space in which to work.
He went outside before swerving past the full back to score wide out. Richards made no mistake with the conversion. From the kick off Henare took the ball and burst through the first line of defence. Ribb’s backs used the ball well with good handling creating an overlap for Josh McFarlane to canter over for an unconverted try Selby kept plugging away but their best spell before half-time was marred by a dropped ball which Moon picked up to run 40 metres to score another unconverted try.
Coach Tug Eccleston steadied his team at the interval and pointed out that Selby would be likely to make a strong start with the elements on their favour.
He was proved right as Selby played with vigour and took the game to Ribb.
McFarlane was rock solid at full back taking every ball in the swirling wind. The defence was robust and Selby could not make any headway.
They kept battering away but Ribb’s back row were dominant on the loose ball with Nathan Dakin and Paddley slowing down the Selby possession.
A good break by McFarlane took Ribb into the Selby 22, Willy Garth who in his two games had made a big difference to the tight play, won the line-out with Henare bursting over from the maul for a try.
Ribb lost scrum half Peter Cook with a shoulder injury and brought on Michael Thwaite who did a very tidy job for the last 30 minutes.
Bolland scored Ribb’s next try. He had been making his opposite number’s life a misery with some crushing tackling and rounded his day off with a good individual try wide out.
It crowned a fine Ribb performance and it made their followers reflect on what might have been if their team had not been bogged down so often in the wettest winter on record.