Halifax RUFC belatedly got off the mark for the season with a shock 15-8 home success over Baildon in Yorkshire Three on Saturday.
They have a mountain to climb to beat the drop but victory at the 16th attempt, against the fifth-placed team, will give them enormous encouragement.
Baildon had inflicted a heavy defeat in October but the Ovenden Park men dominated from first to last with a spirited display of tremendous tackling, ball retention, direct running and dominance in the scrummage.
The game had to be played on the second pitch, with much less snow in evidence there.
Baildon kicked a 10th minute penalty but Halifax began to prevail up front with some enterprising running from the backs.
One such move began by scrum half Callum Bowmer, carried on well by Elliot Mercer, ended with Baildon conceding a penalty.
Halifax opted for the scrum and Bowmer fed prop Pilcher close in for the try. Nick Bell converted.
Baildon were showing some hesitancy in their handling but might have scored close to half time, full back Craig Heppenstall coming to Halifax’s rescue.
Zak White was prominent with his mazy running and strong tackling in the second half, well supported by Mercer who also looked very competent in the line outs.
The handling of both sides deteriorated but Heppenstall continued to be safe at full back before going off injured.
With 20 minutes to go Halifax got their second try from a scrum 40 metres out.
Bowmer launched an attack down the right, centre Jack Ryan drove hard at the defence and lock Adam Milner continued the move before Pilcher made a powerful run from just inside the 22 to score in the corner .
The closing moments were tense and Baildon pulled back three points, only to offend in front of their own posts for Bell to land a penalty.