- Baildon bidding to repeat Vase success
- Bridlington in the pink for their big day
Photo: RFU Archive
Grassroots rugby in Yorkshire collects another accolade on Saturday (May 4) when, for the second successive year, three teams from the county will be contesting the finals of the RFU National knock-out competitions – the Junior and Senior Vases and the Intermediate Cup.
And once again Baildon will be leading the charge for a hat-trick of wins as they bid to retain the Junior Vase they won last season by beating Harrow 6-3 at Twickenham.
Joining them on Saturday will be Selby RFC, who face Drybrook RFC from Gloucestershire, in the Senior Vase final (13.00), and Bridlington RFC, who tackle Brighton Blues RFC (15.00).
For Director of Rugby David Duxbury, Baildon’s team talk will need to be adjusted in part from last season when he was at pains to flag up a “once in a lifetime experience that they would never get the chance to repeat”.
Twelve months on, that unique opportunity has been earned once again by the Jenny Lane men, although this time around there are a number of new faces in the team.
“The most important message is simply ‘enjoy the occasion, the game will look after itself’. That hasn’t changed from last year. We’re a younger team this time with a handful of teenagers and six or seven new players involved.
“It’s a better team than last year, which is underlined by the fact that we’ve won promotion for the first time ever, which was always our primary goal. Getting to Twickenham is great and we really enjoyed the experience, but it didn’t transform the club, except perhaps that one or two players decided it was a good time to retire!”
Duxbury is also contemplating his last game with Baildon and hoping that he can bow out on a high note. After three years at the club, he has taken the job of Director of Rugby at West Park Leeds and will be moving to The Sycamores from June 1.
Like Baildon, Selby RFC are bidding to complete a double on Saturday as they seek to add the Senior Vase to the promotion they earned last weekend by winning at Yorkshire Two leaders Doncaster Phoenix.
This achievement might yet evolve into an historic treble. With one league game remaining and a match in hand on the leaders, Selby could still snatch the league title when they entertain Sheffield Medicals in their final game to give the trophy cabinet a major boost.
Victory in South Yorkshire flagged up the potency of the side this season. Josh Cruise landed five penalties and full back Dan Porter claimed his 33rd try of the season, but Drybrook will no doubt be aware of the threat.
Bridlington RFC will be in the pink at Twickenham no matter what the outcome. They won the dressing room draw which takes place as part of the pre-match planning and will have the dressing room normally occupied by England. However, when there is deemed to be a colour clash, as there is with the normal strip worn by Brighton Blues, it is the home team that changes shirts.
In Bridlington’s case, they already had a cheeky pink number in stock which was the popular choice for the big day, although an extra four shirts, with white shorts and socks to complete the 22-man ensemble, will have raised the bill.
The day is being billed as the biggest in the club’s 81-year history and after getting through the semi-final by a whisker – 16-15 at Coalville winning was the only objective in the Midlands, but now the challenge coach Steve Girking will be setting his men is to perform to their best on the biggest stage of all.