Baildon leave it late to win at home
A brief match report this week as Bill Marshall will do a full write up.
It was an emotional day with both teams at home, Chris Peel* and Tom Peel* starting in the first XV together with Tom captain for the day. Danny Pollard had even managed not to miss his flight and, though jet lagged, pulled on a shirt for the seconds. Before the kick off, all four teams, match officials and spectators participated in a minute's applause for club man Martin Peel.
It was apparent that Knaresborough had a wick back line and good defensive line speed, but had an achilles heel in a scrummage that had one gear - reverse!
Although the Jenny Laners enjoyed 80% possession and turned over any opposition scrummage ball, the home side lacked an attacking edge, spinning the ball wide before they had earned the right with any direct, hard running. Knaresborough found defending the blunt Baildon attack easy, with the ball distributed to wingers who found themselves running out of space and with two or three defenders shuffling across the pitch. Despite being put under pressure Matt Wilson was able to turn the full back with an intelligent kick.
Baildon took the first points through the boot of Matty Robinson. (3-0)
Imprecision let Baildon down with good ball squandered.
When the home side came up fast in a dog leg, Knaresborough struck and scored under the sticks. (3-7)
Baildon narrowed the deficit with a second Matty Robinson penalty before half time (6-7 HT)
The half time talk was about fixing defenders with more direct running, using the pods and sucking in defenders with latch balls, pick and go.
Speculative chips, loose passes had coaches Phil Wilson and Dan Cookson tearing their hair out. Well perhaps not Phil.
Baildon applied pressure and took further points through the boot of Robinson. (9-7)
The match ground on and it looked as though Knaresborough might pinch it despite their back line living off scraps.
Tom Peel* had a giraffe gallop. Chris Peel* played himself to a stand still and was out on his feet. Young Ollie Murphy had only just taken the pitch off the bench when he took a blow to the head and failed the concussion test. Who scored last is not a trick question Ollie.
With five minutes to go, Knaresborough earned a penalty and deserved the lead. (9-10)
Almost immediately the opposition gifted Baildon two shots at goal. The first penalty drifted wide, but seconds later a penalty even closer to the sticks was stroked over to calm Baildon nerves. (12-10)
At last Baildon stirred. Whether they invoked the spirit of Martin Peel, had finally listened to the coaches or the roars of Chris Peel,* now on the touch line, I cannot say. But the pick and drive game inched them up the pitch with forwards relishing the contact and taking the hard yards. It was fitting that on the last play it was Tom Peel* who crashed over. (17-10)
It was difficult to pick out individual players, but Tom Massey put in a shift and enjoyed playing in a dominant scrum. Sam Thompson needed air traffic control from Leeds-Bradford airport to talk down his opposite number who certainly earned his wings when he popped up in the scrum. An immense display of forward power.
One of our players has apparently earned the nickname "dump truck". Not for his prowess on the pitch, but for his lavatorial endeavours in the back of a team mate's vehicle. You know who you are.
Sometimes winning ugly is beautiful. "Pretty ugly" - it's an oxymoron.
Well played Knaresborough. Thanks to our match officials.
On the second team pitch Leon Taylor made a debut for Baildon. Congratulations Leon.
*In the interests of sibling rivalry, I have endeavoured to mention the Peel brothers by full name an equal number of times. Is that OK Chris?