Game Of Thornes
By Mark Purvis
The trustees of Jenny Lane had set a great wall between the lush green rugby pitches and the terrible wasteland where the White Walkers maraude, waving their willow wands at the sky, bringing bad weather with their slogan "Winter is coming"
Yes. It is that time of year, when the Wights appear and the weather deteriorates. The changing rooms are more overcrowded than the crypts in Winterfell on the eve of a battle with the army of the dead. Everyone is thinking DON'T GO INTO THE CRYPTS, yet nobody says anything.
Baildon, now safe from relegation, welcomed promotion chasing Dorne Thorne, who are fighting on two fronts: league and in the Junior Vase next week at Twickenham. Valar Morghulis.
The home side opted to play into the strong wind in the first half. Thorne had the edge at scrum time, but the wind played havoc with the line out and Baildon pilfered.
Notable features of the early exchanges were a Kit Harrington Harrison "John Snow" Strauss steal, a Paul "Water Dancer" MacNamara break from the back of a Throne scrummage and a Daenerys Pollard poach at the line out where the fair haired, blue eyed, Targaryen look alike Pollard rose above the Thorne jumper as if borne by a dragon.
Thorne's pick and drive game was strong, but their backs could be heard saying "it's f***ing cold out here, give us some ball".
Baildon were besieged in their own 22, struggling to get an exit into the strong wind. When Daenerys Pollard was shown yellow for lifting a leg in the maul, (not what it sounds Levi) Baildon were down to 14 men and conceded two scores.
The first Thorne try was quick thinking; a tap from the penalty after Pollard's dismisal finding the Baildon defence at sixes and sevens. (0-7)
Thorne's second was also from a penalty and was well worked as the Baildon defence, still a man down, was pulled left and right to find the gap. (0-12)
Despite the yellow card Baildon edged the penalty count and Thorne had lost the whistler, being marched back ten metres on no less than three occasions.
Daenerys "Storm Born" Pollard returned to the pitch, but Baildon were then to lose Tom "Podrick" Massey whose season was over when he failed a concussion assessment following a no arm tackle to the head. Massey's premature departure was as keenly felt as when a much loved character is killed off in your favourite TV epic. Massey's nose needed some battlefield surgery and adjustment by the attending Maester. The incident earned a yellow card for the Thorne transgressor.
With his hand more heavily bandaged than Jamie Lannister's, Joe "the claw" Robinson returned to the pitch for the first time in half a season to replace Massey.
On the stroke of half time Baildon made their man advantage count. Harrington Strauss broke the first line of defence before passing to his brother Josh Strauss who rounded the last defender and dotted down under the post. Jake Duxbury added the extras. (7-12 HT)
With the wind at their backs, the Jenny Laners pressed deep into Thorne territory at the start of the second half, but the good work was undone by an intercepted pass.
Jake Duxbury]'s seige gun boot soon had Baildon back in the right parts of the field. A Deanerys Pollard offload almost put Jake Duxbury in. Dan "The Mountain" Cookson made yards with direct running that sucked in defenders. The ball was illegally slowed down by Thorne defenders. In front of the posts Jake Duxbury took the points. (10-12)
The restart saw James "Nights Watch" O'Ryan scampering, twisting and turning, beating defenders. Baildon's scrummage had discovered a solidity. When Thorne transgressed 10 metres into the Baildon half they must have pinched themselves when Jake Duxbury pointed at the sticks. One of the Baildon substitutes was heard to say "I'll suck his dick if this goes over" . Ordinarily this would be enough to put off the most strong stomached of any kicker. Duxbury, however, simply took the points and declined the blow job. (13-12).
Phil Wilson, who has more come backs than that bloke with the eye patch who is repeatedly brought back to life by the god of light, had a rampage. Dan "The Mountain" Cookson was again prominent. Ollie "Giant's Bane" Williams took on the biggest Thorne player on the pitch.
Tempers deteriorated quicker than the ambiance at a Westeros wedding and soon the referee had to show a yellow card apiece to each team for some handbags. Adam "The Hound" Hewitt took the yellow for the home team.
Once more Thorne reverted to their pick and drive game, but Baildon's defensive battlement remained unbreached. Twice Thorne launched their battering rams and twice Baildon got over the ball to earn a penalty.
Ollie "Giant's Bane" Williams made a break and Will "Hordor" Tomlinson played like a man possessed. Baildon's reward was another penalty in front of the posts. Duxbury took the points. (16-12)
Harrington Strauss was shown yellow for a high tackle and Baildon once more found themselves outnumbered on the battlefield. Tired defenders allowed a Thorne try as the game approached its finale. (16-17).
With only a minute or so remaining, Thorne thought the game stolen. For Baildon there were echoes of Wensleydale. But there was to be another plot twist. A Daenerys Pollard tackle, a steal and Baildon were once more threatening the Throne line. Thorne transgressed, the referee's arm went out, Ollie Williams seeing the penalty advantage, cleverly chipped. James O'Ryan collected and was in under the posts, only for the referee to insist on calling the play back for the Baildon penalty.
Drama! Time was up. The penalty opportunity was wide out. Duxbury stepped up and stroked the ball over. (19-17 FT) The Three Eyed Raven himself could not have predicted such an ending.
Brilliant. This result shows what we are capable off.
Congratulations to the players, thanks to the supporters, match officials and Thorne. A special thanks to Tom "The Imp" Stanley for passing a fitness test earlier in the day and being prepared to be on the subs bench if needed.
Our best wishes to Thorne who carry the hope and pride of Yorkshire to HQ on finals day. Good luck.