Yorkshire Vase: Baildon 17 Knaresborough 10

IF Tom Peel felt a guiding hand shoving him towards the Knaresborough line in injury time don’t be at all surprised.

With his dad, Baildon stalwart Martin Peel, who was their touch judge but so much more, having died of cancer only a week last Monday aged 61, skipper-for-the-day Tom, who played alongside his brother Chris in the second row, scored the final try of the match five minutes into injury time.

It wasn’t the winning try, but, on a day that started with a minute’s applause in memory of their father, it may as well have been.

Martin, who had cancer, knew the long-term prognosis wasn’t good as early as the end of the 2016-17 season, but preferred to keep it from his sons so that they could make their own decisions in life – for example Tom went to Shanghai to teach – rather than have them worry about his troubles.

“I just felt his presence,” said Tom, while Chris added: “He would tell us to tackle low or hand people off, and at half-time he always came into the huddle.

“He first brought me up here 27 years ago when I was four, and watched my first-team debut against Bradford Salem on Boxing Day, and he always seemed to have bottles of Lucozade handy.

“As Doc Mark Purvis said in the programme, my dad wanted us to show teamwork, fairness and respect.”

Knaresborough had won three out of three in Yorkshire Division Four North West and are second in the table behind Wibsey, and showed in the first half that they were a team to be respected.

With Baildon’s long passing misfiring, the visitors held a 7-6 lead at the end of the first half, but they went 3-0 behind to a 13th-minute penalty by centre Matty Robinson after Knaresborough were offside.

However, they were behind in the 26th minute when, after the hosts had failed to intercept, strong-running prop James Rawlings had enough room to charge at the home line and plant the ball over the whitewash.

Full back Mikey Adams added the conversion to make it 7-3, but five minutes before half-time Robinson added a second penalty when Knaresborough were guilty of tackling a player off the ball.

The prize of a second-round tie at Halifax Vandals on Saturday, November 10 was certainly up for grabs now, and Baildon’s cause wasn’t helped by replacement Oliver Murphy going off with a head injury six minutes into the second half when he slipped into a Knaresborough tackler.

But Baildon played more cohesively up the slope than they had down it and took the lead with a third Robinson penalty after 48 minutes when the visitors were offside.

Centre Luke Strauss and fly half Ollie Waddington showed Baildon’s intent ten minutes later with strong runs up the left wing, and Luke Strauss was again prominent in the 66th minute, this time down the right flank.

However, it looked as if Baildon would be robbed of a second victory of the season three minutes from time when Adams landed a penalty to put Knaresborough 10-9 ahead.

That looked even more likely when Robinson was wide of the posts to the left a minute later after the visitors were guilty of crossing, but over-eagerness cost Knaresborough when they were in front of the kicker when they launched the clearing kick.

Robinson made no mistake this time from just outside the 22 to put Baildon 12-10 in front, and the icing on the cake came in the 85th minute when Tom Peel got that try.

His attempted conversion was about as stylish as his dad’s choice of tracksuit bottoms, but ultimately it didn’t matter!

Tom Peel said: “The blustery wind didn’t help our passing but we put it together as a team in those last 20 minutes where we controlled the game, sometimes going through 15-20 phases.”

Martin’s funeral will be held at Nab Wood Crematorium on Monday, October 16 (10.10am), followed by a function at Baildon RUFC (11.30am).

Any donations can be made to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Appeal at wwwjustgiving.com/fundraising/martin peel.