Match Report: Baildon vs HLH (09.09.2023)

Baildon – 23
Huddersfield Laund Hill – 18

Laund Hill go down fighting away at league rivals Baildon.

In the hottest playing conditions for a long number of years, Huddersfield Laund Hill travelled to the tops of Baildon Moor to play one of the early favourites for the Yorkshire 2 title.

Playing down the considerable slope in the first half, the opening minutes were extremely positive for the visitors as they tried to force their dominance on the home team.  And an early penalty was their quick reward within kickable range.  However, with confidence high, the ball was kicked into the corner to look for an early try.  Unfortunately, even though the line-out was won cleanly, the referee adjudged foul play in the following breakdown, gifting a relieving penalty back to Baildon.

From this, they managed to work their work into the Laund Hill half and when they themselves were awarded a scrum penalty, they elected to take a successful shot at goal to take a 3-0 lead.

In the ferocious heat, the game started to swing end to end and once again Baildon were caught offside just 30 metres from their own line.  This time, captain Gaz Evans decided to take the points on offer which Tom Egan slotted over to level the scores.

Laund Hill now started to get the upper-hand and looked like the team who was most likely to score next.  Unfortunately, two consecutive line-outs lost on Baildon’s line meant that they couldn’t tighten their grip on the game until a cross-field kick from fly-half Luke Earnshaw found Archie Roberts unmarked on the wing to take a simple catch and score the first try of the game.  Egan added the extras.

From the constant pressure, Baildon were forced to concede a number of penalties allowing for another shot at goal, but this time the attempt was missed.

However, the Laund Hill backs were now putting on some fine moves out wide in an attempt to drag their opposition out of position.  And on a number of occasions, it seemed to work before the final pass not going to hand in a try-scoring opportunity.

Unfortunately for Laund Hill, one of the backs’ moves was well read by the Baildon centre who intercepted a pass to race away to score the home-team’s first try of the game under the posts.  The simple conversion was slotted over to level the scores once again at 10-10.

This score seemed to shake the home team into life and they now started to put some good phases of play together.  With just minutes left of the half, they managed to make a half-break and with Laund Hill struggling to get back into defensive shape, the ball was spun out wide for a 4 against 1 with the winger finishing easily in the corner.  This time the difficult kick was not converted.

The referee said there was just time for another play and unfortunately, this came at the expense of a high tackle from Sam Burt who was shown a yellow card under the new contact area laws but luckily Baildon were unable to convert this into any more points and the half finished with Laund Hill trailing 15-10.

As the second half got under way, Hill once again started on the front-foot and applied early pressure, forcing a scrum penalty within kicking distance.  Unfortunately the kick was pushed just wide, but just a couple of minutes later, Baildon conceded another penalty for a high tackle and this time Egan was able to add the three points.

For the next 20 minutes, the scores stayed locked as possession swung backwards and forwards.  However, unfortunately for Laund Hill, they once again found themselves caught short out wide and were beaten on the outside as Baildon ran in try for a 20-18 lead.

Hill never looked out of it though and had plenty of possession in the Baildon half, including a number of penalties that were kicked into the corner.  And as the game entered stoppage time, the referee had had enough of the Baildon infringements and showed a yellow card to reduce them to 14 men for the remainder of the game.

At this point, the Laund Hill forwards took charge and managed to retain possession for a number of phases close to the Baildon line.  Eventually the pressure proved too much for the home team and Ashley Lockwood forced his way over for a late try,

Unfortunately, the conversion was pushed just wide to leave the scores at 20-18 but there was still time for either team to go on and win the game decisively.

However, it was to be Baildon who grabbed the final score of the game as Laund Hill gave away a vital penalty within easy kicking distance.

Despite grabbing a losing bonus point away from home, it will be the missed opportunities that Laund Hill reflect on in a game that could have been there for the taking.  However, as well as things to work on in training this week, there are definitely many positives to take into next week’s home game against Yarnbury.

Match-day Squad:

Egan, Roberts, Evans (c), Bulloch, Burns-Smith, Earnshaw, Vernon; Burt, Hill, Lockwood, Dalton, Appleby, Perfitt, Drennan, Nasaqa.

Replacements:  Walsh, Cotton, Bull

Match Report by Dale Earnshaw

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