A Nice Bonus
By Mark Purvis
Baildon earn sweet bonus point win against Halifax Vandals
Playing up the slope and into the wind in the first half, Baildon undid much of their own good work with forced passes. Strong and elusive running would get through the first line of defence only for "back door" passes to go into opposition hands. Poor discipline with silly offside and breakdown penalties were also an issue, despite great communication from the whistler. Simpler rugby in the second half and listening to the referee marked a massive improvement. Baildon were helped by a tiring Vandals who defended too narrowly, leaving space outside. The visitors also were unable to get effective exits from their own 22, allowing Baildon to kill the game.
Baildon's enthusiasm for the contest was clear from the first whistle with Kaine Mazurke collecting the kick off and launching some wonderful rugby with great interplay and support running. Tom Parnell, Marcus Dracup, Adam Hewitt, James O'Ryan and Jake Duxbury all made yards.
The Vandal threat came from an effective scrum that weakened as the game progressed and a fantastic driving maul from line out ball, though there appeared to be only a single target jumper for the visitors.
Baildon indiscipline yielded the first points through a Vandals penalty kick at goal. (0-3)
Jake Duxbury had shown his class with a 60 metre run but Baildon errors saw them defending their own line again shortly afterwards. Duxbury put in a clearance kick and a very late charge down attempt appeared to target Duxbury when a Vandal player stood on Duxbury's ankle. At best clumsy, but the post collision verbal exchanges suggested something more. My thesaurus describes the synonyms for Vandal thus: despoiler, destroyer, hoodlum, looter, mischief-maker, pillager, pirate, plunderer, thief, defacer, ravager. I once heard a Vandals' player quoted, saying "We are not called Halifax Gentlemen". I dare not opine for fear of causing offence.
Baildon earned a penalty and opted to kick for the corner but could not secure their own line out.
Baildon continued to apply pressure and Josh Strauss linked with his brother Harrison Strauss. The move ended with Jake Duxbury scuttling into the corner to score. Duxbury added the extras (7-3 HT)
Barely had the second half started when Danny Pollard made a break and fed Luke Strauss. Luke pinned back his ears and took the outside, sprinting 25 metres to score. (12-3). Chris Williams gave the conversion, but it was over ruled by the referee after consultation with Jake Duxbury who, with great sportsmanship, considered that the ball had drifted wide.
A Vandals restart fell into the arms of Chinny Tomlinson who, Chabal-like, marauded. James O'Ryan put Baildon in the right part of the field for Jake Duxbury to unleash another assault. Danny Pollard took up the charge, drawing the last defender and releasing Tom Cluett to cross for Baildon's third. (17-3)
Vandal's were finding it hard to get into Baildon territory and were tiring. Tiredness was probably the cause of a penalty, Jake Duxbury took the points through a penalty goal. (20-3)
With every restart finding Chinny Tomlinson as though the ball was magnetised to Tomlinson's hands, Vandals were under the hammer. The visitors showed spirited effort encouraged by their coach. "Forget the score, win the contests in front of you"; wise and encouraging words. Positive comments should dominate the touch line interjections.
Jake Duxbury tormented further with a spinning, jinking run/kick/dribble. By now there were acres of space outside a tiring Vandals defence. Phil Wilson, lurking like a jumbo-jet on the taxi-ing runway, hoped that he might benefit. It was a cross field kick from James O'Ryan that brought the bonus point try, but the recipient was the ever alert Jake Duxbury. (27-3)
With the bonus point secured, Baildon looked relaxed. Tom Stanley was on and played with a composure that he had lacked on the touch line. A Tom Craven counter ruck secured possession and when Vandals transgressed Jake Duxbury opted to take a penalty shot at goal, realising that the game was won and that running down the clock was wise. The kick drifted wide, but Baildon played out to the final whistle. (27-3 FT)
Thanks, as always to our opposition, the match officials and both sets of supporters.
Congratulations to the second XV who played well away against a strong Morley XV.