At The Avenue, Threshfield. Ilkley 2nd XV vs Wharfedale Development XV
Ilkley 23 pts - Wharfedale 10 pts
This final provided an exciting and fitting end to Ilkley’s season and the sight of
young Harry Smith holding the trophy aloft was the icing on an already pretty well
decorated cake for the Stacks Field outfit.
The first XV were 5 points clear of the chasing pack and Champions in league North
One East, the second XV had clinched their league title and the Centurions had
completed a rather truncated season unbeaten.
This final would surely have been the biggest rugby occasion most of the young
ILKLEY players would have experienced, though the inclusion of a smattering of age
and experience in the line up was crucial. Wharfedale too fielded a largely young XV
though they too included some wily and heavyweight campaigners. A tough contest
was expected and whilst the rugby didn’t always come up to Barbarians standard,
the tension and excitement for the large crowd was tangible and audible.
The first half saw ILKLEY playing down the famous slope and they certainly took full
An early penalty was sliced wide but ILKLEY stormed back going close twice before
a the rare sight of a surging ILKLEY scrum provided the platform for Hugo Lawrence
to burst through three tacklers and set the ball up for Archie Elgood. He beat two
more and then popped the ball back for Alec Graham to barge over for the try.
Smith’s kick was good. 7-0.
Wharfedale quickly replied with a penalty goal as ILKLEY failed to clear their lines.
Wharfedale were then pegged back by their propensity to hold on too long or get
themselves in offside positions. One such penalty offence produced a lineout close
to their line and referee Mr Leadbeater was again displeased. Smith despatched this
kick accurately. 10-3.
Wharfedale replied with fury and now it was the ILKLEY side called upon to man the
barricades. Robust and stubborn defence is a calling card of the ILKLEY senior
sides and after several attempts to cross the ILKLEY line a lineout was stolen and
Sam Rowntree broke out to the 22. The ball was lost and back came the men in
green only to be frustrated again. This time Smith cleared. Another defensive set
was still required before ILKLEY regained their composure as they once again
benefitted from Wharfedale indiscretions. Two penalty kicks to touch saw Sam
Rowntree, immense throughout the half, set up Smith for a great try on the stroke of
half time. The conversion was good. 17-3.
Now it was the uphill part of the contest for the young ILKLEY side.
Well, it’s true to state that the second half was rather lacking in the quality of the
rugby played in the first. Interspersed with penalties, the majority of which were
conceded by Wharfedale and combined with handling errors from both sides there
were only three more scores in this enthralling and occasionally bruising encounter.
Notably the ILKLEY scrum were increasingly dominant throughout and, crucially, this
superiority built as the game progressed.
Smith added two penalty goals on 68 and 75 minutes to stretch the lead to 23-3.
Wharfedale engineered a superb consolation try with a couple of minutes to go.
Final score 23-10.
Most, if not all, the 7 replacements nominated for the match got at least a part of the
game and every one of them will have enjoyed the sight of their captain lifting the
trophy before the famous “oh!oh!…..we are the ILKLEY boys” rang out around the
green hills of Threshfield.
Thanks go to the three match officials, Messrs Leadbeater, Brocksom and Bex and
to the Wharfedale club for laying on a great night and particularly to John Riley for
single handedly organising the whole Aire Wharfe tournament.
The ILKLEY team was: 1. Ollie Ham, 2. Jack Popely, 3. Hugo Lawrence, 4. Alec
Graham, 5. Jack Wolstencroft, 6. Sam Davison, 7. Max Jones, 8. Sam Rowntree, 9.
Archie Elgood, 10. Harry Smith (c), 11. Harry Brow, 12. Joe Hawden, 13. Ben
Rawnsley, 14. Tom Heap, 15. Keiron Parker, 16. Joe Paton, 17. Nat Robinson, 18.
Ed Finch, 19. Callum Gillon, 20. Fred Gazeley, 21. Alex Jewett, 22. Angus Kinder.
Changed but relieved not to be required, Jon Hutchinson.
Images of this game/season and previous season’s games may be viewed at: