Finals day is magical as Selby fly flag for Yorkshire

Three teams from Yorkshire embarked on a memorable journey to Twickenham for the RFU Cup finals on Saturday – but it was only Selby who returned home triumphant.

Selby celebrate their Vase triumph.

The Yorkshire Two runners-up capped a successful league campaign with the icing on the cake of a Senior Vase triumph at the home of English rugby.

With a squad made up primarily of players that had come through their junior ranks, it was a proud day for the club and one they hope will act as a springboard as they enter Yorkshire One next season.

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“It means a hell of a lot for everyone at the club,” said their captain, Australian-born prop Duncan Hardy, who joined the club two years ago to bring a bit of experience.

“To have half the squad under the age of 25 shows that what we are doing here at the club is very special.

“We are moving in the right direction.

“For those younger guys who played in the juniors, it meant something even more special. It was an amazing experience.

“It was everything you would expect from playing a cup final at Twickenham... and winning.

“You expect it to be something special and it was exactly that, and more.”

Selby won the Vase on Saturday afternoon but the celebrations went on into the night and into yesterday when players, officials and supporters reconvened at the clubhouse.

“The trophy has been handed around everybody and I don’t think a second has gone by yet where no-one’s hands have been on it,” laughed Hardy.

“I think it will be like that for a couple of weeks.

“People are looking at the trophy in disbelief.

“But this club has earned it. A lot of hard work went into winning that trophy, from everyone at the club, not just the players.”

The Yorkshiremen had to fight to the bitter end against opponents who refused to yield, but they had the game’s key individuals who steered them through.

In a tense opening half Drybrook – from Gloucestershire – started the brighter of the two sides, pressuring the Selby forwards through a commanding scrum.

Drybrook’s early endeavour was rewarded as Nick Ovens scored the opening try with Thomas Treherne converting. Selby fought back to get their first points of the day from the boot of Josh Cruise after Drybrook were caught offside.

Selby then went on to take the lead with a magnificent score, full-back Dan Porter breaking away before combining with winger Ben Lunt, who returned the favour to send Porter over after sprinting the length of the field.

Cruise extended Selby’s lead to 11-7 with a penalty, but Drybrook kept in touch with a drop goal from Ben Large, making the score 11-10 at the interval.

Selby were first to strike in the second half as they forced their way into the Drybrook 22.

Cruise, who was instrumental at fly-half, threw a long pass out to Porter, who grabbed his second of the day and his 35th of the season.

Porter once again showed his class as he casually slotted over a drop goal on 52 minutes from just inside the 10-metre line to send Selby 19-10 ahead.

A Cruise penalty on 60 minutes extended the lead further, but undeterred, Drybrook hit back with a close-range try from Neil Paul Morgan.

The comeback was not to be though as Selby centre Alex Webster charged down a Drybrook clearing kick, Cruise converting to settle the game at 29-15. Drybrook still were not finished and were intent on making Selby sweat in the Twickenham sunshine.

They scored two late tries through Craig Clarke and Samuel James Peaper, but Selby held on for a famous four-point win. And afterwards, captain Hardy paid tribute to the hundreds who followed them to Twickenham.

“Our supporters were very vocal and I think they managed to get us over the line,” added the Australian.

“I had the shakes before the game just thinking about it and I’ve still got them now.

“Drybrook were very good at their style of play, but luckily for us, we had a league game a week ago against a team that also played through the forwards and that stood us in good stead.”

Selby: Porter; Lunt, Webster, Weller, Adamson; Cruise, Daniels; Pocklington, Hardy, Bell, Triffit, Brown, Blaymire, Robinson, Wood. Replacements: Tanner, Arthur, McCoy, Lanaghan, Protheroe, Greenfield, Coates.

Drybrook: Treherne; Bulumakau, Fisher, Rugman, Peaper; Large, Moore; Reed, Renton, Ovens, Cottrell, Cowles, Chesters, Price, Jackson. Replacements: Tingle, Clarke, Rawlings, Morgan, Ward, Lee, Baldwin.