BAILDON, unlucky not to go up last season, won nine of their first 11 league matches before Christmas in Counties Two Yorkshire this campaign.

However, since the turn of the year they had lost four out of six and were staring down the barrel in match 17 when they trailed 18-3 after 45 minutes at Huddersfield Laund Hill.

But, fielding a young side, they shrugged off injuries to locks Dan Wilson (ankle) and Ollie Murphy (dislocated thumb), No 8 Matty Dixon (lower back) and full back Jake Duxbury (head), not all of whom stayed off, to earn two bonus points - one for four tries and another for losing by seven points or less.

In addition they felt that they were on the wrong end of some decisions by referee Dan Boddy (East Yorkshire Society), and Duxbury said: “I am sensationally proud of the lads.

“Whatever team that we out out on a Saturday is our first team and no matter how young some of the lads were they put their bodies on the line in places where I would not want to and stood up to be counted.

“We are doing it tough at the moment with players not being available but Joe Murphy, Mason Holmes-Field (on his starting debut) and Matty Dixon did superbly in the pack, where Grant Nunney was playing on one leg, while in the backs, fly half Jonty Glendinning was on his sick bed yesterday and last night, centres Harrison Strauss only has ‘one shoulder’, while Oliver Shakeshaft was working until the small hours and has had very little sleep.

“We made a couple of decisions which put us under pressure to go 18-3 down and in recent weeks, with our young team, that was sometimes enough to make us fold, but today we went two scores down and that sprung us into gear and we played the sort of rugby that we know we are capable of.

“On a big pitch, we wanted to play and that makes for exciting rugby. We lost a lot of players at the end of last season to go to higher leagues and we have replaced them with young players.

“When the pitches were dry and the tracks were good we were always going to do better than the mud-baths that we have had since Christmas, and it was the first game back for both James Fox and Grant Nunney, while Jack Chapman came back last week but picked up a ban.

“For a Yorkshire Two pack we only have an average age of 23, which is exciting for the future but a steep learning curve at times. However, they are putting it in for each other.

“We now have four league games left and then the cup and it is a matter of learning and getting ourselves ready for next season. The league position is a bit irrelevant, we know that we are not going down or up and it is just a matter of putting in performances.

“We are going to have bumps in the road because of our age and we are not the finished article. The end of last season was the end of a cycle, when we just missed out, and this is the start of another with a side that is improving week on week, and we made a huge stride forward here.”

With seventh-placed Laund Hill playing in black and red hoops, fifth-placed Baildon had to play in their mustard yellow Bumbles kits, with letters on the back rather than numbers.

Laund Hill regathered a superb kick-off by fly half Tom Egan and showed good continuity, taking a 3-0 lead after nine minutes when Egan landed a penalty after a high tackle on full back Tom Earnshaw.

Even getting into the home half was an issue for Baildon, but Duxbury missed a penalty in the 25th minute after a high tackle on Holmes-Field, not drawing the ball in from the right of the posts.

Baildon’s man-of-the-match Holmes-Field was then involved in an attack three times that ended with a goal-line drop-out, but Duxbury levelled with a 33rd-minute penalty from in front of the posts, referee Boddy then needing treatment for a hamstring injury.

Wilson then joined Murphy in being treated for injuries off the field, and Laund Hill went 8-3 ahead with a try by prop Archie Walsh seven minutes into stoppage time, Egan hitting the far upright with the conversion attempt.

Fox was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle and, at the end of a 58-minute half, Egan made it 11-3 with a penalty awarded for not rolling away.

Front-row replacement Sam Burt went over for a try two minutes after the restart, with Egan’s conversion making it 18-3, and it was looking like a long afternoon for Baildon.

However, three minutes later, replacement Will Eastell cut through the centre and winger Fola Dario had the strength to score in the right-hand corner, Duxbury missing a difficult conversion.

The visitors scored another try in the 51st minute from a sweeping attack that was finished off by Duxbury after good work by Eastell, Shakeshaft and Luke Strauss.

Duxbury’s conversion made it 18-15 but Baildon were then forced into a goal-line drop-out a minute before Egan slotted a penalty to make it 21-15.

The penalty count was mounting against Baildon, and Laund Hill went over again in the 62nd minute via replacement Will Burns-Smith.

Trailing 26-15, Baildon needed a response and got it four minutes later when Duxbury cut through in midfield at some personal expense and Luke Strauss’ kick bounced nicely for Shakeshaft to score a try.

In the 75th minute, Shakeshaft went over again to secure the four-try bonus point, but Laund Hill got the final try, again by Burt, in the second minute of stoppage time, Egan’s failed conversion ensuring that Baildon got another bonus point.