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Fears are unfounded as Baildon march on
Buy this photo » Baildon prop Pete Lowth tries to drive through a gap against Aireborough
There was some trepidation among home supporters before this SSE Yorkshire Division Three derby.
Aireborough had won the reverse fixture 15-14 in November, and with temperatures hovering just above freezing, a steady drizzle falling and the visitors having the heavier pack, conditions seemed to be playing into their hands.
That impression was only reinforced after six minutes when Aireborough got a good drive on in the top right-hand corner, experienced second row Richard Fall getting the touch down and centre Nick Holdsworth adding a fine conversion.
But it wasn’t until deep in the second half, with the match lost, that the visitors again had such superiority in the maul.
Baildon were only ahead 14-7 at the interval and had the uphill half still to come but their skipper, scrum half James Dawson, said: “A lot of teams think they have us beaten in those situations but we know how to defend playing up the slope and won comfortably in the end.
“They only got in our 22 once in the second half and also our handling was good throughout given the conditions.”
The hosts, whose willingness to try relatively intricate backs moves came off the vast majority of times, were only behind for three minutes.
Fly half Nicky Lister made the break and centre Shawn Stewart showed his pace and strength to score, full back and fellow Kiwi Jarrod Huss converting.
Having conceded a few penalties, Baildon again got on the front foot in the 23rd minute when hooker Dale Tabiner found No 8 Alistair Beaumont from a line-out on the visitors’ 22, and the pack drove him all the way to the line at which point players fell down in a heap.
Referee Clive Pointon (North Yorkshire) signalled a penalty try, a decision which was fiercely contested by Aireborough, Huss’s simple conversion making it 14-7.
Second-half tries for Baildon followed for prop Pete Lowth and a classy effort from Lister, after he had dummied his way over from 30 metres, Huss adding both conversions to more than make up for a first-half penalty miss that would have made it 17-7.
Aireborough coach Simon Carbutt said: “The lads though they were harshly done to with the penalty try in the first half but Baildon looked the fitter side overall and made good ground from picking and driving whereas we drove the ball in and then tried to make ground by shipping the ball out to the backs.
“We would have been better served by doing what Baildon were doing but, after our ups and downs this season, the heaertening things is the determination that the lads are showing. We never give up.”
Baildon, who are in RFU Junior Vase quarter-final action at Manchester Medics next Saturday, are still favourites to claim the second promotion place behind Old Rishworthians.
The Jenny Laners are a point behind second-placed Goole but crucially have a game in hand.