Baildon Unravel at Castleford
For sixty minutes Baildon played as a team that could compete against any side in Yorkshire Division Three, but in the final quarter looked like they would struggle to hold their own at octogenarian tiddlywinks.
The defensive performance in the first half was one that ranked with the season’s best. It is true that in the first five minutes Baildon struggled to get an exit from their own 22, but once the visitors stopped trying to force the game and played percentage rugby, they looked assured.
Cas scored first with a well taken catch and drive that was not stopped early. (5-0)
For the rest of the first half, it was all Baildon as Cas broke on solid defence and resorted to hopeful kicks. “JP” Pickersgill disrupted at the line out, stealing Cas ball. Ollie Williams chopped everything that ran down his channel. Robbie Hill and Luke Strauss put in some direct running. Joe Robsinon and Harrison Strauss were jackals, getting over the ball and winning turnovers.
Baildon had their chances. Hayden Peers had a run to the corner but was held up short. In a fluent move, Robbie Hill wrapped around Dan Cookson and then switched play sending Joe Robinson and JP Pickersgill up the left wing. When the ball popped back inside to Guy Price and Adam Hewitt running hard lines a score looked certain but the final pass was knocked on.
Cas started the second half with renewed vigour, but once again the Baildon defence looked like it would just hold. JP Pickersgill, Adam Hewitt, Harrison Strauss and Dan Cookson put in crucial tackles. With the defence coming up flat Cas kicked and a home spectator in frustration cried “don’t keep kicking it away” .......just as their inside centre collected to run unopposed under the posts. (12-0)
The penalty count swung Baildon’s way has the home side rained in the high tackles or came off their feet at the ruck. Dan Cookson drew some defenders and got his hands free in the tackle to release Josh Strauss. Strauss looked short of space but jinked, span and pirouetted over the try line. Ollie Williams added the extras (12-7)
With 60 minutes gone, it was a once score game and a fair reflection of the balance of play.
There I would like to end the report.
Oh, go on then! I suppose I must.
Dear reader, I am at a complete loss to explain what happened next.
Those with medical conditions are advised to stop reading.
Perhaps the players were distracted by the “dog balancing on a tightrope” act which turned out to be an optical illusion perfected by the talented and freshly coiffured Levi Strauss? Perhaps the visitors lost faith in the match official’s ability to protect their welfare from the assault of high and tip tackles? Perhaps it was lack of fitness?
Something made Baildon abandon percentage rugby and take up tiddlywinks.
A defence that had been assured haemorrhaged five tries as the visitors needlessly forced play and gifted scores to a delighted Cas.
- JP arriving at a line out to compete and disrupt as he had all game, only to discover that his lifting support players had gone AWOL.
- An attempt to tap a penalty and run it out of Baildon’s own 22.
- Gifting possession with poor kicks and forced off loads.
- Running away from support and allowing ball to be stripped.
- Winning scrum ball against the head on your own try line then failing to get an exit.
- Daisy cutter “clearance” kick attempts that ricocheted back over the try line. Twice.
Cas simply worked out that all they had to go was to kick deep and watch the visitors self destruct in their own 22.
There were yellow cards apiece when a young Baildon player (identity withheld to protect the innocent) objected to a tip tackle. Handbags ensued. A Cas player gave the whistler verbals which continued as the Cas player departed the field. (39-7 FT)
If Baildon play like they did for the first hour, there is still hope. If not, we need to enroll in the octogenarian tiddlywink league. No offense to octogenarians.
Thanks especially to our travelling supporters who kept up spirits in the technical area and everyone who put in a shift. Special mention to Phil Wilson who insisted on strapping a displaced fractured metacarpal so that he could return to play if needed, Chris Peel who limped off the bench and Dan Fletcher who played through the pain barrier after a blow to his jaw.