On Sunday 29th January 2023, Ilkley hosted the Yorkshire cup Semi-Final between our Colts and Pontefract U17s.
Upon last meeting Pontefract took home a win to the tune of 3-41. However the performance put on by the Ilkley Colts was entirely different at this Semi-Final.
The game started with a lot of pressure from the young Ilkley side, both forwards and backs executing well thought-out plays and electric runs. However with an unlucky penalty, Pontefract kicked for the posts and gained 3 points which were the only points in the first half.
In the second half, the pressure was still on for Pontefract with most of the match being played in their own half. After another penalty within kicking range, Pontefract put another 3 points on the scoreboard and the pressure was now on Ilkley.
A few stunning plays from Ilkley put them within striking range and a winning converted try seemed in reach. The ref called 4 minutes to go and the momentum changed for Ilkley, after slinging the ball to the wing, Ilkley were then only 10 metres out for the last play of the game.
After a clever run, Ilkley dodged 3 tackles and got over for the try! Unfortunately, the conversion just swung wide and Pontefract won by the single point.
Ilkley put up a tremendous performance and should be incredibly proud of their efforts. If this match was anything to go by, the future of Ilkley Rugby looks very strong.
Ben McDonald, U17 Head Coach, said "I was immensely proud of the lads who put every ounce of effort and determination into the game. To lose by the barest of margins against a side who are top of the league, having beaten us by 40 points earlier in the season is disappointing, however, this side has proven that they can play rugby at the highest level and it’s enormously encouraging for next season when a lot of these players will start their senior rugby journey.
When a lot of local teams are struggling for numbers this puts Ilkley Rugby Club in a very strong and enviable position. I would also like to thank the many supporters who created a fantastic atmosphere that greatly added to a thrilling match."
Sean Gilbert, U17s Team Manager also said this on Facebook "Narrow loss today 5-6 against league leaders Pontefract. Went right to the wire. A truly epic performance by the lads. They deserved the win on the balance of play. Future is bright!!"
Joe Lowes, 1st XV Captain, who was in attendance had this to say about the performance, "Having watched the game, I would like to say that I thought our boys played outstanding. The result didn't go their way today but they should all hold their heads up high. Represented the club fantastically. Stick together lads you're a class bunch of players - the club is behind you"
Chuckie Ramsay, 1st XV Vice-Captain said "I couldn’t agree more with Joe Lowes on this. As a side you were a credit to the club and it was a pleasure watching, really enjoyed the game. Sometimes the result doesn’t go the way deserved, but that’s rugby. Well played lads!"
As a Club we are all extremely proud of our U17 players and coaching staff!
Images courtesy of Buckophotography on Facebook.