Baildon A Better Team
How are Baildon languishing at the lower end of the league table whilst Corinthians soar at the top?
It was the kind of windy day that might blow a house from Kansas to Oz.....only on the Corinthian's pitch it was not flying monkeys and wicked witches that blew past, but empty crisp packets and discarded confectionery wrappers.
There was bad news that clearance for Danny Pollard had not come through. Danny has played all his rugby at Baildon, but because he is on a year coaching and working in South America where he is registered with a club, he is unable to play rugby for Baildon on his visit back home unless clearance comes through. Sometimes the rules are silly, but Danny took the news gracefully and made a more than adequate water boy.
Baildon chose to use the wind in the first half and used it well, apart from kicking two balls dead for scrums back. The Jenny Laners moved the league leaders' heavy pack around the park. Corinthians though defended well, filling the pitch and winning the ball back twice on Baildon drives towards the Leeds try line. We suspect former Baildon player Will "Cream Egg" Craven was instrumental in these turnovers. Will is a good egg, but for the purposes of banter we shall now refer to him as "The Quisling".*
The Baildon Scrummage had the edge and apart from two overthrown line outs at the outset, the line out was accurate. Ollie Waddington played well, there were some delightful touches, including a wrap around move that might grace a higher level of rugby. The forwards played with dog and determination. Andy "Gritter/Shitter" Magee took quick penalties and frequently put the opposition on the back foot. Josh Strauss made a 50 metre break but was unable to score. Frenchy had a kick and chase chance.
Baildon played some lovely rugby, retaining the ball through phases, accurate and good interplay between backs and forwards.
The visitors should have had three tries, but had to settle for one. White line fever, seemingly, the diagnosis. It was strong driving forward play that gave Baildon their try. Chinny Tomlinson stood in a second pod one defender inside the first pod, he ran a latch ball and released the man mountain running back Chris Peel who was not going to be denied moving at pace only 5 metres out. Conversion Matty Robinson (0-7 HT)
Baildon should have been 20 points in the lead and the consensus on the touchline was that the wind was worth a good twenty points.
Tom Peel almost reclaimed the Baidon kick at the start of the second half and, despite the wind, Baildon managed to play most of the second period in opposition territory.
Wind assisted penalties seemed the only way that Corinthians might attack, but when the Baildon defence stood too wide there was a disconnnect between defenders and the big Leeds number 8 ran from deep, burst through to score against the run of play. (7-7)
A harsh penalty allowed Corinthians to take a narrow lead for the first time. (10-7)
Baildon got the driving game going. Corinthians entered from the side to stop the drive and Matty Robinson took the points. (10-10)
Corinthians had a line out in the middle of the field. The jumper was sacked as soon as his feet touched the ground, but Baildon were penalised for "collapsing the maul". This set up a Corinthhians try from a ball that was quickly distributed wide. (15-10)
Baildon responded. A magnificent maul set off towards the Corinthians try line like an express train, covering at least twenty metres. Inexplicably the maul was brought down inches short. The ball was available and at the scrum half's hands. There was no shout of "use it" and the referee's whistle blew. OK, I am hopelessly biased, but given the penalty for a "collapsed maul" that had set up the Corinthians try, was the decision going to be:
(b) Penalty Try
(c) Penalty Try and Yellow Card to the Treacherous Quisling Traitor who collapsed the maul, cynically denying Baildon a certain try?
Wrong! Option (z) ball held up, scrum defending side put in was the decision and is therefore the right answer. There is one, sole judge of fact. Dan Cookson, despite his injured ankles, performed a ligament straining, stamping dance of irritation on the touch line. On the pitch, credit to the boys, the team took the decision in their stride and did not "lose it". Great discipline!
When it looked like Baildon would be denied and would settle for the losing bonus point, on the very last play Baildon chanced their arms and threw a loose pass. The pass was pounced on by Corinthians to score as the final whistle blew. (20-10 FT)
Corinthians skipper said "well done, we weren't expecting that, this was our toughest game of the season". Corinthians coach said, "Baildon were the better team". Only the scoreboard seemed to disagree.
Thanks to Corinthians, our supporters and the match officials. Well done Quisling, it was great to see you still enjoying your rugby and playing well.
Let's learn from this one, keep our discipline, continue to trust the officials and enjoy our rugby.