Baildon Show Their Worth
Baildon save their best performance of the season for a six try, bonus point, dream win away at Hemsworth
In the film Clockwise, the John Cleese character says "It is not the despair that gets you, it's the hope."
Despite a bonus point win Baildon's League Three future is dependent on results elsewhere.
Whatever happens in the league, Baildon can be proud of a performance that shows the potential of this young team.
At the kick off Baildon contrived to cough up possession in their own 22, gifting attacking opportunities to the home side. Baildon's defence was solid. It became apparent that the visitors had the upper hand at the set piece: with John Pickersgill stealing ball at the line out and the Baildon scrum having the nudge on Hemsworth. Despite set piece dominance, Baildon looked to attack from deep rather than finding an exit from their own 22 and playing percentage rugby.
It was another turnover in Baildon's own 22 that eventually led to a well worked Hemsworth try; the sort you do not mind conceding. The home side launched a series of attacks on the left wing, committing defenders; then switched the attack with long, slick passes to dot down on the right. (5-0)
Hayden Peers had some promising runs that showed Baildon's attacking intent. When player of the season Harrison Strauss pounced on loose ball he was able to break the gain line and get the Hemsworth defence back pedaling. Harrison Strauss linked with his brother Luke Strauss, Baildon's most improved player of the season. In an attempt to use ALL the journalistic cliches, Luke Strauss put on the after-burners and pinned back his ears, crossing to score. (5-5)
A poor Hemsworth restart saw Baildon back on the attack. Baildon's young player of the season Zack Orrell galloped into space and fed Guy Price who also made ground. Unfortunately the ball was turned over into the hands of Hemsworth's best player , a Yorkshire incarnation of "the Honey Badger" who clearly enjoys his rugby. The Hemsworth Honey Badger dodged and wove to score in the corner, his try brilliantly converted from the touch line. (12-5)
Baildon edged the penalty count but were unable to reduce the deficit before the half time whistle blew. (12-5 HT)
Hemsworth improved their score with a penalty when the visitors were harshly judged to have made a no arms tackle. (15-5)
Luke Strauss was once more the creator with a line break. Robbie Hill, in support, took the ball on. Hill drew the defence and laid off a delightfully weighted ball to Matty Robinson. Robinson looked certain to score but superb adjusting scramble defence saw Robinson tap tackled metres short. Robinson kept his head, adjusted and popped up the ball to Matty Dixon running a tracking support line. Dixon crossed to score a try that with one game remaining sees him in contention for the Johnny Bell trophy for points scored in a season. Ollie Williams's beautifully struck conversion reduced the deficit to three points. (15-12)
Baildon looked nervous, conceding a penalty to put Hemsworth in a promising position. When Hemsworth conceded a penalty of their own, Baildon should have been able to defuse the danger, but the penalty was reversed for some retaliation. Hemsworth took the points. (18-12)
Baildon pressure at the restart won a turnover. In a replica of an earlier move Robbie Hill once more drew defenders opening a gap for Matty Robinson. This time the Hemsworth cover was not there and Robinson was in under the sticks. The conversion put Baildon in the lead for the first time in the match. (18-19)
Could the visitors hold on to their one point lead for the final ten minutes of the match? The drama was not yet over as Hemsworth were able to launch another series of attacks with good hands, scoring in the corner, converted with another fine kick. (25-19)
When Ollie WIlliams at scrum half was dragged into a ruck, he must have headbutted the Hemsworth prop's swinging fist with the back of his head. Williams failed the on pitch concussion test and was removed from the field of play, claret flowing freely from the back of his head. Williams' departure only served to galvanise his team mates, who found another gear that the home side were unable to match.
Your reporter was too busy with the injured Williams to reliably bear witness to what happened next. Some say he mesmerised the Hemsworth defence with his dancing feet, some say he teleported the thirty metres to the try line....we only know that Harrison Strauss was in under the posts for a bonus point try. There are rumours that young Harrison (a modest and unassuming player) is so worried that his defence busting super-powers have been noted, that he has had to resort to going incognito under the alias of Mr Smith. This, I am assured, is FAKE NEWS. Tom Massey took over kicking duties and cooly dropped kicked the conversion to regain the lead for Baildon. (25-26)
Baildon's kicking game had been good all match, and when Robbie Hill kicked deep and turned defenders, Hayden Peers put in a great chase. This ensured that Baildon played out the match in the right part of the field. When Baildon got possession Luke Hope-Robertson turned defenders inside and out. The Baildon team and supporters were convinced he had scored but the referee was unsighted and unable to award the try. Dan Cookson had moved to scrum half and from the five yard scrum launched a series of drives towards the line. As the attackers reloaded on the blind side, the Hemsworth defence spread out to fill the field. This opened the door for Cookson who accepted a gap of Grand Canyon proportions and strolled over to dot down. Converted Tom Massey. (25-33)
There was time for a restart. Hemsworth need to reclaim the kick and score twice in the dying seconds. Matty Dixon caught the ball and set off through the entire Hemsworth team, whirling and bouncing off would be tacklers who were left grasping air. Dixon crossed for his second and Baildon's sixth try of the match. (25-38)
SIX tries. Six! That's more tries than you can count on the fingers of one hand. Unless you are from Halifax. (Joke, it's a joke!)
The Baildon supporters who have believed all season, who witnessed the home fixture against Hemsworth at the start of the season where Baildon were beaten by 52 unanswered points, were thoroughly bruised from pinching themselves to check that this was not a dream.
There was no time for the restart (25-38 FT)
Thanks, as always, to our match officials. Thanks to Hemsworth for an entertaining game of rugby, for the encouragement after the match and for the well wishes for Baildon's remaining fixture.
Congratulations to players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and sponsors. Thanks for making the award's evening a night to remember. A big thanks to Chris Williams for organising the awards.