BAILDON crashed to a heavy 35-7 defeat at Rotherham Phoenix in Yorkshire Division Three.

Rotherham had the stronger start, as they played heads up rugby. They were highly aware of when there was a mismatch and were quick to change the focus of their attacks with some stunning, flowing rugby. Although Baildon clung on, the penalty count against the visitors was woeful.

Rotherham struck with a well-taken try in the corner and minutes later Rotherham kicked a penalty to extend their lead.

With little fluency, it took Baildon at least 20 minutes to get into the match.

The visitors had a small advantage in the scrum and, once they stopped trying to throw long lineout balls, seemed to get decent possession on their own lineout ball. But errors and discipline were an issue. Finally, when three phases were strung together, possession was given away with a crossing penalty.

When Nick Lister was shown a yellow card for a late tackle, Baildon had to play out the half with 14 men.

Despite their one-man advantage, Rotherham struggled to break the Baildon defence.

Both Baildon wingers, Johnny Fawthrope and Matt Wilson, defended well, using the touchline as the extra defender and often dealing with two-on-one overlaps.

Ollie Murphy and Dan Fletcher tackled anything that moved. Ricky Powell, a late call-up on the morning of the match, scrambled well. Harrison Strauss and Josh Strauss won turnovers. Tom Massey filled in with kicking duties.

Rotherham did eventually make the numbers tell, scoring once for a 13-0 interval lead.

Within minutes of the second half starting Baildon were once more down to 14 men as Adam Hewitt was shown yellow for a tackle that was judged high.

Luke Strauss pulled a hamstring, ending an excellent contribution and Baildon unloaded their one-substitute-bench.

Now Rotherham took advantage of their extra man and scored twice to extend their lead to 23-0.

Still Baildon did not give up. With five-phase rugby, latch balls, and pick drives Chris Peel burst through the last line of defence to score under the sticks.

Rotherham showed some psychological frailty, arguing amongst themselves in contrast to the cohesive spirit of the Jenny Laners.

The Baildon renaissance was ultimately unfulfilled as Tom Stanley was removed with a neck injury. With no replacement, Baildon were once more down to 14 men, then 13 as Ricky Powell was injured.

Numbers told as two more tries were conceded before the full time whistle.