Final date has been a long time in coming for Baildon

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A large contingent of Baildon’s squad will feel their date with destiny at Twickenham is long overdue.

Six years ago they were narrowly and agonisingly defeated by Billericay in the Junior Vase semi-final.

They approached last month’s semi-final with Old Wheatleyans mindful of how painful defeat in a semi-final can be, and produced a very accomplished performance to defeat the Coventry club 23-10 and finally lay the ghosts to rest.

Now the Yorkshire Three team can at last take to the field at the home of English rugby.

“We’ve been waiting for a second attempt for what feels like a very long time,” said team manager Andy Whitley.

“Those who missed out last time are as hungry as anyone to make it count this time.

“We don’t know much about Harrow, but they must be a good side to have made it this far.

“And we’ve tried not to envisage walking off the pitch with that trophy in our hands at the end of the match, but if we did, it would be a tremendous moment for everyone involved with the club.

“I’m thrilled for all the people who have supported us and now have a chance to share in this.

“It’s all about Baildon and the people who have supported the club, some older members and pensioners who have been with us for years.

“It’s all about the community atmosphere within the club. We’ve made it and I’m so pleased for everyone that is going down.

“We have one member coming from Australia and a couple coming from the very north of Scotland and Ireland.

“It’s that kind of very special occasion and we’re all excited to be involved.”

The Yorkshiremen have not escaped injury disappointments, with hooker Tom Craven (hand) and flanker Matt Williams (knee) both ruled out of the showpiece occasion, but they have been able to name a full 22-man squad.

Yorkshire’s hat-trick of teams at Twickenham today sees a trio of West Yorkshire’s community coaches descending on the capital.

Neil Spence and Kris Stafford will be hoping to help mastermind Ilkley’s bid for glory in the Intermediate Cup in mid-afternoon.

Four hours earlier, the final member of that coaching triumvirate, David Duxbury will be out to help coach Baildon to glory in the Junior Vase.