First half display proves decisive

Old Rishworthians 16 Baildon 9

Rishworthians beat the only side they have lost to this season to consolidate their lead at the top of Yorkshire Three.

But they had to do it all in the first half. In the second they lost all control and discipline and in the end were relieved to hear the final whistle.

They dominated the first period, leading 16-0 at the break, but their second half performance did little to please coach Damian Ball. They seemed to have no shape, cohesion and very little possession.

The visitors in contrast raised their game and clawed their way back thanks mainly to Rishworthians’ poor discipline.

James Clarke scored the only try of the game for the home side and although the visitors were much improved in the second half, they never looked like scoring a try of their own.

Games between the sides are always close with the result usually going to the home side. In the last four games between them, Baildon have managed a total of 28 points and Rishworthians 32, with only two tries being scored.

In the first half Baildon missed three very kickable penalties, while Aaron Canning missed a difficult chance and then landed one to give the Copley men the lead after good work by the forwards with Clarke, lock Jioti Bakoso and prop Reuben Pollard prominent.

With good work by lock Fraser Swarbrooke and pace and determination from flanker Chris Dyson, Rishworthians began to take charge.

But the score when it came started with a breakout from their own line. The ball came out wide to stand-off Luke Flanagan, who had another fine game. His delicate infield kick almost put Dyson in, but it forced a five-metre scrum and there was no stopping No 8 Clarke with the pick-up and drive to the line. Canning added the conversion.

Left wing Anthony Shoesmith put in a searing run to the line, but for the second week running he was called back for a forward pass.

The home side kept up the pressure and Canning landed two more penalties before the break.

From the restart though it all changed as Rishworthians were penalised time after time, on several occasions when they appeared to be going forward with promising moves.

They had one bright moment when replacement Nick Faulkner put in a strong driving run with the ball then going wide and centre Kurt Sutcliffe almost got in at the corner. The ball did come back though and replacement lock Harry Collett was held up over the line.

That was the only bright spot of the second period for the home men and while they kept the visitors out, they were happy to hear the final whistle.

Rishworthians second team had a good 8-5 win away to a strong Huddersfield YMCA thirds. Gerard Rolling scored their try and Josh Kelly added a penalty.