Baildon switch off for a fatal ten minutes
There are many mysteries in life. Which Baildon XV will turn up on match day? Why can't we beat local rivals Old Modernians? How is a pitch situated on the top of a hill so boggy?
Your reporter squelched the 100 yards from car park to pitch side across the cricket pitch/swamp.....and by the time I arrived at the pitch I looked like the sole survivor of an explosion in the Choccywoccydoodah factory. Indeed, I am still washing the mud out of my quill and parchment on Sunday night.
Baildon played down the hill in the first half. Mods struck almost immediately with a try in the left corner as tackles went too high. (5-0)
A Luke Strauss interception and 50 metre dash saw Strauss dot down under the posts. Conversion Ollie Williams. (5-7)
Baildon got a penalty and kicked to the corner. Not for the first time this season, the attacking line out faultered and the chance to score was lost.
Adam Hewitt and Lewis Morgan were combative and punched holes, but were too often isolated as Baildon showed signs of switching off.
Gaps did open on the blind side as Zak Orrell broke through the defensive line and found himself in acres of space with options right and left. Orrell took the outside, knowing he could off load, but his gas was enough to leave the last defender grasping the air. Orrell's try came on the stroke of half time. (5-12 HT)
Baildon started the second half well, playing "keep ball" and treating their own 22 like the half way line, such was the task of playing up the slope. When Andy Magee got over the ball with a great body shape he won a penalty that put Baildon into Mod's territory.
What happened next was ugly. Was the visiting team suddenly afflicted by swamp fever? Had a stray Tse-Tse fly inflicted the whole team with sleeping sickness? Was a Russian nerve agent deployed? Three tries were conceded from first phase possession. These tries were not earned by a team going through the phases, but gifted by a weak defence, dropping off tackles and going too high. It wasn't so much that the Baildon players looked like they didn't want to be on the pitch; the body language suggested that the players didn't want to be on the planet!
Then as suddenly as the malaise set in, it lifted.
At once, everyone was looking for work and relishing contact. Heads went up. The communication was positive. There was urgency. Five successive penalties were conceded by Mods on their own try line. After three or four phases, Adam Hewitt barged over, reaching over the line to place the ball for the try but receiving an elbow in the process after the try was awarded. (26-19)
Baildon continued to press as the clocked ticked down and had multiple phases in Mods' 22. The clock beat the visitors and left them ruing their fatal ten minutes in the second half where they had lost focus. (26-19 FT)