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'Best half of season' fuels Baildon hope
Buy this photo » Tom Massey takes on the Roundhegians defence with Jonny Picken in support
Baildon 0 Roundhegians 29
A second straight trip to Twickenham and promotion from SSE Yorkshire Division Three are beginning to seem a lot longer than five months ago for Baildon.
Fielding a side that contained only six of the 15 who started at HQ in the defeat by Newent, the Jenny Laners have been shorn of bulk and experience just when they needed it most.
However, despite having lost all six of their league matches so far this season, there are signs that they are beginning to adapt.
A fortnight ago against Moortown, the score was 0-0 after 25 minutes and last week against Old Rishworthians it was only 10-0 deep into the contest.
On Saturday, Baildon were 0-0 at half-time but defending for so long took its toll in the second half as the Leeds visitors ran in three tries in the third quarter.
“That was definitely our best half of the season,” said Baildon skipper Jonny Picken of the opening 40 minutes.
“We are getting better each week. The tackling was disappointing in the second half but it wasn’t just tackling technique, it was concentration, and overall it was getting players to the breakdown.
“We have lost a lot of players since last season because of injuries, retirements and unavailability, and lads have had to step up from the second team and they are doing well, plus we hope to have one or two players back soon.”
Missing Jake Duxbury, Hayden Lister, Elliott Morgan, James Dawson, Adam Hewitt, Dale Tabiner, Pete Lowth, Phil Wilson and Tom Craven from their Twickenham starting 15, there was much to admire about Baildon’s first-half display, apart from an alarming tendency to let the ball bounce in defence.
That happened three times in the first four minutes but didn’t cost them, Baildon offering only a Nick Lister half-break and a Jarrod Huss missed penalty in terms of attacking opportunities in the opening stanza.
Defensively, they twice repelled Roundhegians thrusts for the line in the 25th minute, survived a midfield interception and were generally stoic in keeping the visitors out.
But there was a certain inevitability that the hosts couldn’t keep it up for 80 minutes, lock Andy Childs and centres Henry Wareham and Andy Lewis, the latter after a poor Huss kick out of defence and some woeful tackling, scoring tries.
Full back Alex Jones added three conversions and a penalty as Roundhegians stretched their lead to 24-0, and the main topic of the final 20 minutes was whether Baildon could get on the scoreboard.
Optimism was raised after referee Pete Barnett - who last visited Jenny Lane as Mossley Hill’s fixture secretary for their RFU Junior Vase match in March, 20012 - yellow-carded Roundhegians’ replacement Jamie McLean and Childs.
But, despite a fine 74th-minute break by Baildon full back Oliver Waddington, there were to be no consolation points for the hosts, Roundhegians scrum half Harry Wollaston completing the scoring with a try in stoppage time.
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