Selwyn Secure Victory vs. Homerton
A tense game sees Selwyn edge Homerton out – OLIVER MUNNS reports.
Selwyn faced Homerton for the cuppers shield semi-final at Barton Road where Selwyn are undefeated in 3 years. But it was Homerton who were, in many people’s eyes, the favourites having dominated Division 2 this year.
The start of the game saw Homerton looking to attack wide using Number 13 Andy Murdock to good effect, with Selwyn having to resort to a scramble defence on a number of occasions. However, it was the home side that drew first blood with a simple penalty in front of the posts taken by rookie Fly Half, Rupert Grace.
As the first half progressed Selwyn were in the ascendancy and scored two tries on the far left of the pitch, the second of which, expertly finished by star Number 7 Louis Reynolds, was slotted by Grace. The score at half time stood Selwyn 15 – 0 Homerton.
The second half couldn’t have started more differently, the arrival of Andrew Abraham at full back provided an injection of skill and fresh legs to the Homerton back line. Early in the half they twice capitalised on overlaps out wide and crossed the try line to score.
Despite having missed his first attempt at goal, a relatively easy penalty, Abraham couldn’t have struck the next two better, adding the extras on both occasions. With 23 minutes left to play it was a one point game, Selwyn in the lead 15-14 but the momentum was entirely in favour of the visiting side.
For the next 10 minutes Homerton continued their relentless attack. The Selwyn defence held firm despite a mounting penalty count and increasingly weary legs; captain Jeremy Cribb dared not make any substitutions with the game so close and a place in the final at stake.
Eventually, Homerton got their chance, a penalty on the half way line provided an opportunity for them to take the lead for the first time in the game with 10 minutes left to play.
The kick came agonisingly close but Selwyn retained their lead and full back Sam Roberts, widely tipped to be named Clubman of the Year, continued his monumental performance with an inspired return to bring his team well clear of the danger zone.
Frustrated, Homerton started to let up. Selwyn got some much need possession and began to wind down the clock, the pack giving their all to deny the visitors another chance. In the last play of the game though, it was Homerton with the ball.
They rolled the dice and went wide but yet again the cover defence came across to make crucial tackles and with the ball unplayable at the bottom of a ruck, the referee blew the final whistle. The score stood Selwyn 15 – 14 Homerton.
Selwyn advance to the final for the second year running, to be played against Churchill at Grange Road.