Great start in Merit Table by Pirates
Pirates travelled with one of the strongest squads we have ever had available to take on Selby 3rds in their opening league game of the 19/20 campaign. Yet more debutants on the day with Ed Challis and George Oxendale donning Pirates shirts for the first time and putting a marker down for selection going forward.
Pirates were dominant from the off and it didn’t take long for them to register their first try via mercurial scrum half Ivan Drane which was swiftly converted by Jed Wolfram. Several minutes later Pirates struck again through Tim Evans who just had too much pace and power for the Selby back line to cope with, once more conversion was comfortably slotted via the boot of Jed Wolfram, Selby 0 Pirates 14. The barrage from the Pirates continued for much of the first half with further tries registered by Evans and Drane and a further conversation by Wolfram. Half time score – Selby 0 Pirates 26.
As the second half began Pirates had made a couple of changes, introducing Oxendale to Pirates rugby who made some fine runs. The next try and the first hatrick of the day went to Ivan Drane, who has been in fine form so far this season. However, Selby had clearly rallied at half time and were beginning to apply a lot of pressure to the breakdown area, where their big pack was starting to turn over ball and win penalties due to some good jackaling work over the ball and Gate not clearing the opposition out in a timely fashion. This led to Selby registering their first points with a try after some sustained pressure on the Gate line. It was now the Pirates turn to rally as they struck back almost immediately through more pace and power from Tim Evans, who broke a number of tackles to crash over the line and bag his own hatrick. Conversion missed and the game surely in the bag for the Pirates now as they led by 38 points to Selby’s 5. Ian Binns had come into the fray at half time and was having a cracking day at the office, jackaling like a man possessed, winning turnovers and penalties for fun. Binns was rewarded for his efforts when he crossed the whitewash in the last 10 minutes to register his first try of the game.
With the Pythons pushing on and trying to reach the 50 point mark with the clock running down, Selby had rallied once more and were keen to have the last say, battering the Pirates line until eventually a hole appeared and their centre was able to touch down under the posts with what was almost the last play of the game. The conversion was successful and shortly after the final whistle blew. Final Result – Selby 12 – Harrogate Pirates 43.
Man of the Match was Tim Evans who has now scored 4 tries in his first 2 appearances for the club, however, this was an excellent display by the Pirates with many fine performances across the park.