Baildon 2nd XV vs. Aireborough Crusaders- 0-5
Derby day, and the Crusaders are out for revenge. Match Report by Tom Clayton
The Crusaders have struggled recently against local rivals Baildon, having not won in over 3 years. Today, they had a chance to make things right and end their current stint of bad form.
Kick off was delayed by half an hour as the pitch for the second team game was being used as a football pitch, leaving it fairly cut up and slippery under foot. Delayed kick off gave stand-in captain Ed Brewer a chance to rally his troops and reiterate how important the match was for the club, the team and every player pulling on the jersey.
Late changes to the squad saw Jason Clay start in the centre alongside Nick Barber, while Phil Shields, Rob Anslow and Dan Mehmood all gained a starting place. The late arriving Granville Sellers was the Crusaders’ only substitute for the day.
Kick off came and Aire started as they meant to go on, putting big hits in through Jason Clay and Lewis Eastwood and eventually winning the ball. Strong play from the forwards got the Crusaders to within 5 meters and it became apparent that the pack was more up for it than Baildon’s.
After 10 minutes camped on Baildon’s tryline, Aire won a scrum and the forwards began to flex their muscles. A solid effort from the front row of Tom Clayton, Rob Anslow and Tom Helliwell, bolstered by Phil Shields and Ed Brewer in the second row saw the Crusaders win consecutive penalties as the Baildon pack absolutely could not handle the pressure being put on them. Penalty after penalty came but no penalty try or cards were given, instead Baildon stole the ball in a ruck and managed to get it clear, leaving Aire frustrated to come away with nothing from their hard work.
It wasn’t long before Baildon found themselves on the attack and after a couple of silly penalties conceded in midfield, the hosts had a golden opportunity on the Aire 5 meter line. The visitors were solid in defence though, more big hits from Richard Holmes and Lewis Eastwood stopping the hosts from scrambling over.
The penalty count was creeping up for either side. It gave a real derby day feel as the penalties were mostly for high tackles and tensions boiling over after hits that were less than ‘by the book’. The sheer number of penalties culminated in a Baildon player being yellow carded just before half time.
The rest of the half was scrappy back and forth between the two sides, with Aire winning a few lineouts and still dominating in the scrum, Rob Anslow doing well to turn two against the head.
Halftime was called early by the referee as captain Brewer was taken out in a high tackle and was in need of assistance, fortunately for the Crusaders, Brewer was back on his feet and able to carry on.
HT – Baildon 0-0 Crusaders
During the break, Brewer said to keep playing as you are, Crusaders were dominating and they needed to keep it that way.
The first part of the second half is more of a blur as the game pretty much carried on where it left off. Baildon did everything to try and avoid scrums but knock-ons from the backs forced several pack downs and Aire’s scrum only got stronger, with the addition of Granville Sellers moving to second row and Ed Brewer moving to prop. At this point, Baildon lost one of their props to injury and scrums had to go uncontested, to the joy of Baildon and frustration of the Crusaders.
The turning point came around 20 minutes into the second half when Oscar Edwards pointed to the sticks to take 3 points from a penalty. At this point both team knew that it was going to be a one-score game. From around 40 meters out, Edwards stepped up struck the ball and lost footing as he did, sending his effort wide.
Aire had to rebuild from halfway out as the home side cleared from the resulting 22 drop-out. Uncontested scrums began to play once again into the hands of the Crusaders, with Will Warrington picking and going from the number 8 position and on a few occasions finding himself breaking through the line but unable to get offloads out.
Another penalty came and Edwards stepped up to make amends for his earlier slip. The kick was 20 meters closer but another slip saw the ball sail wide once again. (Maybe time to invest in some longer studs?)
The following 22 drop out found its way to prop Tom Clayton who shrugged off two would-be tacklers and shipped it out wide to Lewis Eastwood who took 3 defenders with him while driving towards the line. A strong phase of play saw Aire win a penalty, Edwards putting the ball into touch.
The lineout worked well for the Crusaders and after a good run towards the line from Granville Sellers, the forwards found themselves once again camped on the Baildon line. Clayton drove in close, but held up just short he played it back and scrum half Luke Buchan found Richard Holmes who burrowed over with four defenders trying to hold him up. Aire finally had the lead after 73 agonising minutes of scoreless play. The kick was as close as you can get from Edwards, but just short of the posts.
Baildon 0-5 Crusaders
In the last five minutes, the Crusaders were spurred on by the first team, who’d won with the final play of their game with Baildon’s first team.
It came down to goal line defence from the Crusaders, conceding two penalties in quick succession, but still holding firm and not allowing the hosts to sneak over. It was the line-speed of the backline, putting pressure on Baildon as the last play was called by the referee and Baildon knocked on over the line. Full time was called, giving Aireborough a famous double-bagger over their local rivals Baildon.
Full time: Baildon 0-5 Crusaders
Man of the Match – Lewis Eastwood
Anyone in that pack could have picked up Man of the Match after what was a huge effort from everyone in the pack. Lewis Eastwood was the pick of the bunch though. Making big hits around the park, stealing the ball and being a prolific runner throughout the day wins him the Man of the Match award this week.