IT is a sobering job coming to Baildon's Jenny Lane these days.

Three weeks earlier, the Yorkshire Two club held a cancer charity day in which over £1,000 was raised for each of five leading charities for a devastatingly deadly disease.

This time Baildon hosted Thornensians, postponed from that same cancer charity day due to Covid-19 in the South Yorkshire camp, for the first leg of the Brian Hawkins Memorial Trophy.

Hawkins, who had twinkly blue eyes, a ready smile and a wicked sidestep, played for both clubs and took his own life some 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, Thornensians suffered another huge blow with the death of their scrum-half Oliver Rothwell at the age of 31 late last month.

A minute’s silence was held in his memory before kick-off.

Thornensians certainly honoured him with their performance, looking for all the world as if they would take an interval lead, leading 3-0 until injury time when they conceded a try to Baildon centre Andy Walker from a superb long pass by player-coach Jake Duxbury.

But, despite losing their main creative talent in skipper Tom Holt with a hamstring injury after 24 minutes, and Cam Watts (dislocated shoulder) and Tom Ambler (knee ligaments) in the second half, Thorne didn’t cave in.

They did concede two penalties to full-back Duxbury, who also converted fly half Conor Parnell’s kick-and-chase try, but the visitors left with their pride intact following an 18-3 defeat, ready for the return leg on January 29.

They also targeted Duxbury, who was late tackled three times during the match, and it wasn’t entirely surprising that the contest ended with a brawl.

Referee Adam Houchin sensibly opted to blow the final whistle three minutes early, with Thorne’s Antony Bull being punched in the face during the melee.

Despite the late fracas, it was a game that both teams could take positives from on a dull, rainy afternoon.

Duxbury said: “We needed to dig in as we had a lot of young lads who hadn’t played in those conditions at Baildon before.

“We learnt a lot of hard lessons at home to Yarnbury the previous week and put them right this week, so it is steps in the right direction and a win is a win.

“It is always hard up the hill and we tried to play at the right end of the field, play simple rugby well, and we had one chance and we took it.

“We didn’t do that against Yarnbury because we tried to play too much rugby up the hill.

“We had that late try against us down the hill last week and it knocks you. You get towards half-time thinking that it will be 3-3 and it is a momentum shift, it changes your half-time team talk and how you approach the second half.

“In the second half here we were much better as the weather set in. We set out to make it difficult for them to get out of that bottom end as we know how hard that is. We asked for endeavour and we got it.”

As for being the victim of three late tackles, Duxbury was philosophical, saying: “If you take the ball that close to the line you are going to get it, and I don’t have any animosity towards Thorne.

“The referee was right to blow the final whistle early as one or two players from both sides had lost their heads.

“The result wasn’t in doubt by then and players from both teams had a pint or two in the bar afterwards.”

Duxbury can see progression with the team, saying: “We are learning that you have to have a Plan B. You can’t just have a Plan A, you have to have a bit of dog about you and that is what got us the win in the end.

“Going up a league, you have to learn lessons, and we are learning them fast, such as how to play our pitch. If you do learn then you have a chance of staying up; if you don’t, you will be near the bottom of the table.

“We know as backs that a day like this is all about the forwards, and we finished off a couple of moves that were started by the forwards.

“We dug in well with our tight five against a very strong scrummaging pack after going backwards in the first two scrums.

“We self-corrected that and the back row put their heads in places where our backs don’t want to put their heads.”

The win put Baildon up a place to eighth, while Thornensians are 14th and bottom, with eight losses from as many games.

Several of the teams in the Bradford District had a week off, but not Bradford Salem, who lost their crucial Yorkshire One basement battle 22-14 at home to Goole.

Wibsey also suffered a bad defeat, going down 36-0 at Knottingley in Yorkshire Three.