Happy New Year
Baildon start 2018 with hard earned win against Skipton
Both teams needed a victory in this well fought contest at Jenny Lane.
Baildon defended hard at the kick off, conceding a penalty for a high tackle that also earned Matt Withers a talking to, perhaps lucky to have not seen yellow. When Zack Orrell won a turnover it was Skipton's turn to infringe, conceding consecutive penalties for coming off their feet at the ruck and following good work from Adam Hewitt straying offside. This gave Baildon good field position with an attacking line out. Dan Cookson tidied up scrappy line out ball but a promising move was brought back for a forward pass.
There was a typically mazy run from Luke Hope-Robertson and a more direct line from Joe Robinson that drew further penalties as Skipton struggled at the breakdown.
Chris Peel exploded from the back of the line out finding himself in space and linking with Zack Orrell. With front foot ball Adam Hewitt and Harrison Strauss committed the Skipton defence. Defenders drawn in, Baildon had earned the right to go wide. The ball went through the hands: Luke Hope Robertson and Luke Strauss, putting Dan Fletcher into space with an unopposed run to dot down in the corner. (5-0)
Joe Robinson claimed the restart kick and Baildon were once more on the attack. Baildon then managed to lose a scrum against the head and compound this by conceding a penalty. Skipton could not get a great exit, slicing a kick to touch. When Baildon earned a scrum on opposition 22 they launched an attack to the open side. After two phases, Ollie WIlliams switched play to the right wing where Matt Dixon was doing his make-up and hair, determined to reclaim the title Prettiest Hooker in Yorkshire Rugby from the challenge of Tom Massey. Using his good looks to optimum effect Dixon bounced the awe-struck last defender to score. (10-0)
As if unaccustomed to building a lead, Baildon wavered and gave Skipton an easy shot at goal with a silly offside. (10-3).
Dan Fletcher had a faint chance at the restart but was stopped short. The ball was recycled and put through four phases of pick and drive. The backs called for the ball, but the pass was juggled into the hands of the opposition who set off the length of the pitch before being bundled into touch in a desperate try saving tackle.
Baildon won the line out on their own 5 metre line and Luke Strauss set off on a canter. The game became more fragmented as the ball went from end to end. Eventually the Skipton inside centre pulled off a piece of magic. The Skipton man skippety-skipped with more skip than Skippy the Bush Kangaroo leaving defenders trailing to go over for a well taken try. (10-8 HT)
Baildon had won the first half despite not taking all their chances and gifting some easy points. Would they push on or buckle under pressure?
Seemingly unable to claim the restart kick it looked as though Baildon might buckle. Cue the cool head of Nick Lister off the bench at fly half who began to show what Baildon have been missing all season with deft touches and calm decision making. Lister put in some crushing tackles and then put in a siege-gun kick that turned defenders. Adam France cut through the Skipton line and was tackled high just short of the line. Ollie Williams took the points. (13-8)
Harrison Strauss broke through tired Skipton tackles and nimble hands from Nick Lister released Luke Hope-Robertson to put in Luke Strauss for the try, converted Ollie Williams. (20-8)
Back on for his second stint Chris Peel launched another explosive run, brushing off would be tacklers like flies.
Skipton had a great ten minutes when they pressed the Baildon line. After the match the Skipton players assured us that they had got the ball down over the try line, but the referee had been unsighted and gave a held up decision. The Baildon defensive scrummage was awesome and in the end Skipton knocked the ball on into touch to give the home side some relief.
With Nick Lister conducting affairs and an improved kicking game, Baildon got into opposition territory where they earned a penalty and shot at goal. (There was much debate on the touch line about whether the home side would have been better going for the corner and the chance of a bonus point try.) The kicked bounced off the posts and could have gone anywhere. The ball eluded Baildon's chasers and a Skipton player scuffed a clearance only for a Skipton team mate to pick up the ball in an offside position. This gave Ollie Williams and easier attempt which he slotted. (23-8)
Despite a 15 point lead Baildon got the yips as the clock ran down. Conceding territory through consecutive penalties, the second penalty was quickly taken by a well coached Skipton team that clearly still believed as they ran in their second. (23-13)
Luke Strauss tackled, got up and tackled again. Adam France won a turnover and put the ball deep into Skipton territory. It looked like a bonus point try might be on, but the clock won that battle. (23-13 FT)
Thanks to the tremendous support, the match officials and our gallant opposition who were bitterly disappointed with the result.
Last week against Northallerton, Joe Ossleton commented that Baildon are "a good side that just need a win for confidence". Hard work on the training paddock with the coaches has given more options in attack, with a shift in the positioning of forward pods. All in all this was a well deserved victory against a good side that came to play rugby. Now let's push on and prove Joe Ossleton right.