Hop, Skip....and Stumble
A losing bonus point poor consolation in a winnable game
In the away fixture to Skipton a year ago Baildon were ugly with: no discernible game plan, poor commitment, low energy levels and lack of ambition. It is a mark of the team's progress that, at the final whistle, the whole team were angry with themselves at the result. Positivity and more work on the training paddock will put this right.
The early exchanges saw Nick Lister putting Baildon in the right parts of the field through his boot. With Zack Orrell bossing the line out and disrupting opposition throws, it was only Baildon handling errors that prevented them chalking up an early score.
It was the home side who had the next attempt at points as Skipton were awarded consecutive penalties when Baildon players came off the side at the ruck. The penalty attempt drifted wide. (0-0)
Baildon threatened when Matthew Wilson put in a lovely kick and the visitors regained possession. In a threatening position Baildon demonstrated no patience, looking for the killer pass instead of going through the phases and making the gaps appear.
Baildon's profligacy was punished minutes later when the Skipton fly half cleverly created space for their outside centre running from deep into a yawning gap to dot down under the posts. (7-0)
Heads did not drop. Baildon once more worked their way into the red zone and threatened. Skipton killed the ball and were penalised, twice. The points were taken. (7-3)
Nick Lister again put Baildon on the attack through his boot. Once more a speculative "killer" miss pass was thrown. It was a "killer" pass........only it was a coach killer of a pass.
Baildon were on the right end of the penalty count and once more the ball was killed to snuff out an attack. Matty Robinson added to his earlier successful kick. (7-6)
Another silly Baildon penalty on the stroke of half time gave Skipton an attempt on goal that drifted wide. (7-6 HT)
At the restart it was all Baildon. Consecutive Baildon penalties gave Matty Robinson the chance to work his team up the field then take the lead through his boot. (7-9)
Zack Orrell broke from a scrum and ran 60 metres, but the last pass went astray.
Once more Skipton fell over the top of the ruck, killing the ball when there was an overlap. Matty Robinson stretched the lead. (7-12)
Baildon looked aggressive in defence, where a lot of their energy originated. Harrison Strauss was characteristically strong over the ball with great body positioning, winning turnovers. The Jenny Laner pack was on top.
It was all the more disappointing that Skipton were let back in. Having secured the ball off a defensive line out, instead of clearing it down the park, Baildon switched off and let themselves get turned over. Coughing up possession five metres out is a risky tactic and the Jenny Laners were duly punished as Skipton crossed to regain the lead. (14-12)
Baildon threatened. Skipton were penalised for a deliberate knock on and then for not retreating ten metres and preventing the early tap. The whistler had words, but the defence was reset and Baildon muffed their chance.
Skipton ended the stronger of the two teams and scored again through a catch and drive from the line out. The referee had his arm out for penalty advantage, Baildon players entering the maul from the side in a desperate attempt to stop the Skipton pack's advance towards the line. (19-12)
The conversion attempt drifted wide, ensuring a losing bonus point for Baildon when the final whistle blew. (19-12 FT)
There were some great performances, especially in the forwards. Captain Andy Magee take a bow. Chris Peel and Adam Hewitt played with heart. The Strauss trio fizzed. It was particularly pleasing to see Dale Tabiner back in a Baildon shirt. Kgosi Ngwenya at scrum half kept the back line firing. Max Sutcliffe made a promising debut.
Thanks to our wonderful hosts, the fabulous Craig Bartlett and our great match officials. It was excellent to see two games on a weekend when poor player availability had cancelled a lot of rugby elsewhere in Yorkshire