Yorkshire Division Three: Skipton 19 Baildon 12

IN THE away fixture to Skipton a year ago, which Baildon lost 18-10, there was no discernible game-plan, poor commitment, low energy levels and a lack of ambition from the visitors.

It is a mark of the team's progress that, at the final whistle this time around, the whole team were angry with themselves at the result, but positivity and more work in training will put that right.

In the early exchanges, Nick Lister put Baildon in the right parts of the field through his boot.

With Zack Orrell bossing the line-out and disrupting opposition throws, it was only handling errors that prevented Baildon from chalking up an early score.

It was the home side who had the next attempt at points as Skipton were awarded consecutive penalties when Baildon players came off the side at a ruck, but a kick at goal drifted wide.

Baildon threatened when Matthew Wilson put in a lovely kick and the visitors regained possession, but, in a threatening position, the visitors demonstrated a lack of patience, looking for the killer pass instead of going through the phases and making the gaps appear.

Their profligacy was punished minutes later when the Skipton fly half cleverly created space for their outside centre running from deep into a yawning gap to dot down under the posts, with the conversion making 7-0.

Heads did not drop, however, and Baildon once more worked their way into the red zone.

Skipton killed the ball and were penalised twice, so the points were taken to make it 7-3.

Lister again put Baildon on the attack through his boot, only for a speculative pass to go astray.

Baildon were on the right end of the penalty count, however, and once more the ball was killed to snuff out an attack, with Matty Robinson adding to his earlier successful kick.

But the visitors were let off when another silly Baildon penalty on the stroke of half-time gave Skipton an attempt on goal that drifted wide.

At the restart it was all Baildon, and consecutive penalties gave Matty Robinson the chance to work his team upfield then take the lead through his boot

Orrell then broke from a scrum and ran 60 metres, but the last pass went astray.

However, once more Skipton fell over the top of the ruck, killing the ball when there was an overlap, and Matty Robinson stretched the lead to 12-7 with his fourth penalty.

Baildon looked aggressive in defence, where a lot of their energy originated.

Harrison Strauss was characteristically strong over the ball with a great body positioning, winning turnovers, and the Jenny Laners' pack was on top.

It was all the more disappointing therefore that Skipton were let back in.

Having secured the ball off a defensive line-out, instead of clearing it down the park, Baildon switched off and let themselves be turned over.

Coughing up possession five metres out is a risky tactic, and the Jenny Laners were duly punished as Skipton crossed to regain the lead at 14-12.

However, Skipton were then penalised for both a deliberate knock on and for not retreating ten metres, preventing an early tap.

The referee had words, but the Skipton defence was reset and Baildon muffed their chance.

The hosts ended the stronger of the two teams though and scored again through a catch and drive from a line-out with the referee already indicating a penalty to Skipton as Baildon entered the maul from the side.

But the conversion attempt drifted wide, ensuring a losing bonus point for Baildon.

There were some great performances, especially in the forwards, and particularly captain Andy Magee, Chris Peel and Adam Hewitt.

The Strauss brothers fizzed and it was particularly pleasing to see Dale Tabiner back in a Baildon shirt, while scrum half Kgosi Ngwenya kept the back line firing, while Max Sutcliffe made a promising debut.