SELBY RUFC are heading into 2013 knowing they are perfectly placed to mount a promotion charge in the second half of their Yorkshire Two campaign, writes Joe Harrison.
The club currently lie third in the division, one point behind Yarnbury and three points behind leaders Doncaster Phoenix.
While they find themselves right at the business end of things, the statistics suggest they should sit even higher up the table.
Their points difference of 294 is by far the best in the division, comprising a league-best 70 tries and 481 points.
Selby’s defensive record is equally good, having conceded a miserly 22 tries that is bettered only by West Leeds’ 21. The club stormed out of the blocks at the start of the season, winning their first seven fixtures and finding themselves top of the table by mid-October.
A disappointing 18-17 defeat at the hands of West Leeds saw this magnificent run come to an end, before back-to-back losses to Yarnbury and Doncaster Phoenix led to them being bumped off the top of the table.
The side remained composed, and went on to win their remaining three fixtures before the festive break to keep them within touching distance of the promotion spots.
Much of Selby’s success can be accredited to the mix of youth and experience that they boast within their ranks.
Andrew Pocklington has been consistent in the front-row, and has passed on his wisdom to the squad’s younger members, helping players such as scrum-half Jack Daniels and back Ben Lunt flourish.
Coach Richard Nicholson must also take some of the plaudits, and has proved a popular figure with the side’s supporters.
“Great credit for Selby’s progress this season must go to coach Richard Nicholson,” said a club spokesman.
“He works tirelessly in his role and has managed to mould a side together who give wonderful entertainment to probably the largest following of supporters in the division.
“These are exciting times for Selby with a team capable, if they stick together, of achieving promotion back to Yorkshire One, and perhaps challenging for further honours.”
Nicholson has been keen to blood young players early, with a remarkable 14 members of his 18-man squad graduating from the Selby youth ranks.
That speaks volumes for a club that boasts an immensely strong foundation.
The Swans still regularly field five senior teams, all of which have been competitive in their respective divisions.
Selby seconds are third in the Yorkshire RFU Championship Merit League, while the thirds are also third in their Merit League.
The fourths have recorded several impressive victories to secure a mid-table spot in their division, while the fifths schedule friendlies whenever possible and have won three games this season.