Bakers youngsters grind out narrow victory at Billericay despite being understrength
PUBLISHED: 11:31 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:31 09 January 2020
May & Baker under-17s nabbed a narrow 24-22 victory over Billericay despite a disastrous first-half display.
Bakers made the trip to Billericay to start the new decade with just 14 players and expecting a huge challenge and the hosts got the breakthrough offloading well to touch down and open the scoring.
Bakers' job became a lot harder when Ronnie St Leger-Holmes received a yellow for mistiming his tackle, but they battled well, making a few surges into the Billericay 22 and were unlucky not to touch down.
Robson Burke also picked up an early injury, but back to 13 Bakers were still battling well but the slope was helping the hosts put some dangerous attacks together.
They were rewarded for building some phases in the M&B 22 with another score which was converted.
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Bakers were working twice as hard to cover the extra players Billericay had, but they could not prevent another score before the break and trailed 17-0.
Despite the scoreline Bakers were controlling large sections of the game and deserved to put points on the board and they picked up just 30 seconds into the second half, when they turned the ball over just after the restart to build four phases and Harry McVelia to touch down to reduce the deficit.
The slope allowed Bakers to take the game to the hosts and it did not take long for them to touch down yet again, when some quick thinking from Max Lee allowed him to snipe around the side of a ruck and touch down and bring the game within one score.
The conversion brought the visitors within five points and consistent pressure soon paid off as Damian Tredinnick bundled over to level the scores.
Lee added the extras and put Bakers two points ahead and although three players down Bakers were playing with all the confidence with a smart kick from Lee seeing St Leger-Holmes just a fingertip away from gathering the ball, which would have seen him go clean through to score.
Lee soon broke well to cross the whitewash and put Bakers seven points ahead.
But two more injuries left Bakers with a huge mountain to climb and the hosts were able to touch down once more, exploiting the natural overlap to finish within two points.