Yorkshire Division Three: Baildon 20 Sheffield Medicals 6

ON THE murkiest of Jenny Lane afternoons, Baildon had several holes in the implementation of their game plan.

However, they persevered and sealed their Yorkshire Division Three victory against plucky Sheffield Medicals with a 75th-minute try.

The hosts gave away too many penalties early doors uphill and tried to play too expansively in the second half downhill but still had enough about them to notch a ninth victory in 11 matches to stay third, hot on the heels of Knottingley and Leeds Corinthians albeit having played a game more.

Baildon No 8 Dan Cookson said: "I would give us seven out of 10 for that performance.

"We played well in patches and when we realised that we should be playing boring 10-man rugby we came good.

"It took us 60 minutes to get there but we still made some daft decisions, some daft calls and tried to referee the game rather than letting the referee do it and gave some silly penalties away.

"But when our discipline was good and we stuck to our game plan and listened to our coaches, we were very effective."

Baildon gave five penalties away in the opening 14 minutes and Cookson revealed about his team's indiscipline: "We talked before the match about the week before against Skipton and we were just the same then - giving silly penalties away and letting the opposition get into the game - when we were our own worst enemies, compounding our errors rather then figuring it out.

"But luckily we are still coming away with wins this season whereas last season we would probably have lost and kept moaning.

"We kept our heads when we were getting on the wrong end of decisions and identified how to play and how to keep the ball and our ball retention was good in the last 20 minutes, and that is what I am most proud of here.

"Medics may not have the biggest set of forwards - for once we had a bigger pack than the opposition - but they are very well drilled and they chop low.

"We tried running it wider than our 10, which had a bit of an effect, but picking and going was the game here and we also did quite well in stopping them getting quick ball, dragging them into an arm wrestle.

"If they had got a try and a conversion at 13-6 it would have been a draw but we were all of a same mindset after the message came on from the sidelines, no-one was hiding and we got our rewards with that late try."

Baildon full back Jake Duxbury put boot to ball early on to peg the visitors back but the home side conceded three penalties in the first five minutes, allowing Medics fly half Robin Nash to pop over a kick from just outside the 22 to give them the lead.

Two more penalties to Medics followed in the next nine minutes, the fifth being a rarity in that it was given for feeding at a scrum by referee Matthew Cannon (West Yorkshire Society).

Hooker Tom Craven was then pinged for dummying a throw at a line-out as the unusual penalties stacked up but Duxbury only needed one chance to level matters, firing a 26th-minute penalty over from halfway to the left touchline to make it 3-3.

Seven minutes later the Jenny Laners were ahead, with winger Tom Parnell finishing off a smart move by accepting a popped pass from Harrison Strauss.

Duxbury's conversion made it 10-3 at half-time, with Medics undoubtedly feeling that the scoreline was harsh, despite them having caught up with Baildon's six penalties conceded.

The visitors came out with intent at the start of the second half, and only an ankle tap by Matty Robinson prevented Medics full back Jake Wilkins from making serious inroads after a fine break by winger Simon Billingsley.

The latter was winded in a double tackle moments later but Baildon were up too quickly and Nash landed a second penalty to make it 10-6.

Baildon lost Craven with a suspected medial collateral ligament injury in the 47th minute, Wilson replacing him, and Medics were threatening to cut loose in the backs as Baildon's tackling dropped off.

Their expansive game was not working so they decided to keep the ball up their jumpers more, and building pressure was rewarded with a Duxbury penalty goal in the 68th minute.

With the gloomy light all pervading, making a strong case for earlier kick-offs in November, December and January, Baildon then pinched a crucial line-out on a Medics throw six metres out.

The game-clinching try came five minutes from time by centre Danny Pollard, with Duxbury's conversion taking the game even further beyond the visitors.

Winger Isaac Walbridge was the last visitor to threaten the home try line but it was the hosts who were pressing for a third try just before the final whistle.

Cookson said: "It wasn't a day for backs but young Ollie Williams controlled it really well at nine and told the forwards what to do, which when you are older and not so fit like me means that you can catch your breath a bit quicker.

"I don't think that our skipper Harrison Strauss has missed a tackle all season and our front row did well, such as Guy Price, Tom Craven and Phil Wilson, who rolled back the years."

On promotion, Cookson admitted: "The objective at the start of the season was to get 40 points (and be safe).

"Now that we are on 41 we will reassess but we are just taking it a game at a time and there are some strong teams around us.

"Medics will turn some teams over, and once you start looking at the league table you can switch off so we will just try and keep winning."