The perceived wisdom that Halifax Vandals aren’t ready for another promotion was seriously challenged as the blue and white machine ground out another impressive victory on their travels.
The Warley side won 23-5 against early season pace setters Baildon on Saturday and lie second in Yorkshire Three.
In dull, damp conditions the Vandals produced a performance of power, control, belligerence and utter determination to meet their opponents full on in a combative first half.
They battled the slope and the elements and restricted their opponents to two long range penalty attempts which both failed.
Turning round scoreless, they delivered a master class in rampaging power and patience in possession as their direct but brilliantly executed game plan paid dividends.
Baildon could not deal with the relentless pressure. The waves of runners and explosive driving mauls were converted into penalties and two late tries as the Vandals’ fitness and power told.
The game started in mundane fashion after the holidays with unforced errors and loose passing.
As the first half wore on, Martin Hamer, Paul Jowett and Danny Mitchell made good yards, prompted by the ubiquitous Luke Sutcliffe.
Baildon relied heavily on long range kicks, an aggressive chase and very effective lineout but Tom Crowther was rock solid under the high ball and relieved pressure through elusive running and safe touch finding kicks.
The only blot on Vandals’ work was several turn overs in the ruck but Baildon were unable to cash in, their full back missing two penalties.
The second half was almost complete Vandals pressure as Ben Burnside, Matthew Maeer, Craig Sim and Jamie Richardson led a marauding pack into the heart of the opposition.
Excellent positional kicking from Joe Gallagher and barnstorming support from Andy Binns and Joe Bryson kept the scoreboard ticking over as the flawless Jimmy Crowther kicked three penalties.
Baildon scored an unconverted try against the run of play but robust forward pressure led to Burnside crashing over for a well deserved try. Jimmy Fowler converted for a 16-5 lead.
Baildon continued to relieve pressure through good back row play but a fine passage of support play from Vandals resulted in player/coach Jamie Bloem strolling over unopposed from five metres. Crowther converted.
Captain Paul Jowett said: “I’m super proud to be a Vandal. Today we were calm, patient and played some of the best rugby I have seen in a long time.”