Baildon Bring Home The Cheese Winning Against Wensleydale
Wensleydale push Jenny Laners all the way in a close encounter
Baildon second from bottom needed the win. Wensleydale third and pushing for a promotion spot wanted the win. Baildon had played well in the corresponding away fixture earlier in the season. So, with the weather acting as a leveler and home advantage for Baildon, the stage was set for a thrilling match.
Wenselydale started strongly with a bullocking charge deep into Baildon territory, pick and go drives, good offloads and excellent ball retention. Baildon weathered the initial assault then turned over the ball. Two Nick Lister kicks pegged the visitors back into their own 22.
When Matty Dixon won a penalty getting over the ball, Baildon kicked to the corner. The line out was lost but Baildon managed to turnover more Wensleydale possession this time through Chris Peel whose opening contribution had been typically forceful. The Baildon Coach, Robbie Hill, had ordered his side to take points in the opposition 22 and when Baildon won a penalty, Ollie Williams stepped up to the tee and put the ball through the uprights. (3-0)
Baildon now had the bit between their teeth and applied a period of pressure. Tom Cluett danced. Harrison Strauss jackalled. Guy Price bounced through tackles. Luke Strauss ripped the ball in the tackle.
Wensleydale responded, looking dangerous whenever they had possession. When a Baildon clearance kick was half charged down, it fell into the hands of the 'Dale fullback. Wensleydale needed no second invitation, they ran hard. In horrible handling, conditions the offloads were at times sublime. Although Baildon defended well, 'Dale managed at least ten phases and when the last defender was sucked in, crossed in the corner. (3-5)
Adam Hewitt came on making an immediate impact cleaning up some untidy ball at line out time and improving Baildon ball retention around the ruck area.
More Wensleydale pressure stretched the Baildon defence, but the defence held firm. When Baildon put in a no arms tackle in front of the posts, it looked like Wensleydale would extend their lead, but the usually reliable 'Dale kicker put the ball wide.
Baildon ended the half well. Andy Magee put in a tooth rattling tackle. Nick Lister had a penetrating run up the blind side. "JP" J Pickersgill was also prominent, but Baildon were unable to improve the score before half time. (3-5 HT)
Baildon picked up in the second where they had left off in the first. The driving game got going and the phases were strung together. Baildon got a shot at goal when 'Dale left their feet in the ruck, but the attempt narrowly missed.
When Baildon next got possession they kicked through the flat 'Dale defence. The Baildon chase was obstructed and this time the penalty was put into the corner for an attacking line. The line out fired and Matty Dixon showed great strength and composure to cross the try line. The conversion from the touch line was a ball width wide. (8-5)
Baildon rode their luck, fluffing two penalty kicks that did not find touch and dropping the ball with scoring opportunities begging but were not punished. When loose Wensleydale ball was hacked through there was a foot race. Hayden Peers slid over and was given the try. (13-5) This try was similar to the Skipton attempt against Baildon in the same corner that had been disallowed. Such are the fine margins upon which seasons can turn.
Wensleydale looked fit and eager to finish strongly. Every knock on by 'Dale and every tackle or turnover from Baildon was cheered by the vocal partisan home crowd doing their utmost to will Baildon to victory. When a 'Dale player burst through the line out, we appeared to be playing basket ball as the ball was bounced up the pitch but no knock on given to set up a try. The conversion made it a one point game. (13-12)
Surely that was full time? No! Time appeared to stand still. Perhaps the referee's watch had stopped? The Baildon match sponsors: Des Christie, Steve Schofield and John Carr organised a quick whip around and had time to send to the shops for a new watch before the final whistle blew to huge relief for the home side. (13-12 FT)
Many thanks to the players, coaches, volunteers and supporters. Congratulations to the second XV for putting in a good display on the second pitch. It is great to see two games of rugby at Jenny Lane and a busy bar afterwards.
The referee deserves our thanks. Our players said he was one of the best this season. Of course very many thanks and commiserations to our visitors Wensleydale, who are undoubtedly a strong team deserving their position in the league. The spirit with which they played and their sportsmanship in defeat is a tribute to our wonderful game and its values.