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Best Ever Performance For Ilkley Colts To Win Yorkshire Plate Final

To adapt a famous piece of commentary by Bjorge Lillelien  - Harold Wilson, James Mason, Derek Ibbotson, Billy Currie, David Tindle your boys took a hell of a beating, a hell of a beating!

Ilkley well and truly beat Huddersfield in the Yorkshire Plate final 36 -17.

Huddersfield were strong favourites, having beaten Ilkley earlier in the season 41 -10.  They are a very strong squad having won the league convincingly.  They are large in frame and quick of feet.  This was a team that oozed confidence, rightly so.

For the past three weeks it had been drummed into the Ilkley lads that this would be their downfall and it was.  Huddersfield thought all they had to do was walk onto the pitch and they'd won...well not quite.

Ilkley were ready, they had a simple game plan and all they needed to do was execute it....perfectly, and they did! 

They saddled up and went for their last ride together.  The Magnificent 23!

At the first opportunity Ilkley threw the ball wide.  Fullback Headboy Ballard hit the line at pace and ran hard at the Huddersfield wing.  A face plant hand off saw him sprint away on the outside.  Suddenly the Huddersfield defence was in scramble mode.  Their fullback was across, only to receive the same treatment.  The Headboy was clear.  He ran around towards the posts and scored.  Huddersfield were stunned.  Rahmbo stepped up and slotted the conversion.  Ilkley were bouncing.  Every tackle, every ruck was hit at pace with a real snap.  Huddersfield conceded a penalty which again Rahmbo slotted.  It was 10 nil before 10 minutes had been played.  Lots of red faces and shouting from the opposition. 

They came back and forced Ilkley into their 22.  Such was the confidence, with scrum advantage Ilkley tried to run it out.  Unfortunately a pass was intercepted and the Huddersfield 12 ran through unopposed for a converted try.  

Ilkley were not disheartened.  They came back as strong as ever and really pressurised the Huddersfield scrum, dominating it and ruining quick steady ball.  Rahmbo kicked well and took play into the Huddersfield 22 at every opportunity.  The large crowd were right behind the Dalesmen and the vocal support was lifting them to new heights.  The Ilkley Tower jumped well at 2 on a Huddersfield lineout 15 yards from their line.  The ball was scrappy and Samlent Assassin gathered and pounced for the line.  Although the kick was wide out the conversion was true. 

Ilkley started to believe. 

The forwards were ferocious.  The tackles were relentless.  Neither side backed down.  Unfortunately the first of three broken noses went to Louis Getthrough.  His boyish good looks gone, now a Ricky Hatton lookalike.   The superiority in the set piece continued, which was something Huddersfield clearly were not expecting.  They could not release their rapid backline with any time or space.  Ilkley marshalled them well.  Their frustration grew. 

Another line out to Ilkley in the opposition 22.  The catch and drive was stopped, however the ball went to Rahmbo at 10.  He cut a lovely line and reached out for the try line.  Unfortunately the conversion hit the post.  The referee blew for half time.  Ilkley leading 21 -10.

A quick pep talk was all that was required and then back to it.  Ilkley put together a highly impressive 35 minutes of rugby.  All areas of play were near perfect.  No tackles were missed, every ball was secured and all the players ran hard.  Confidence exuded from the squad, which was rotated regularly, with all the players stepping up to the plate.  Two further tries were scored from close range by Captain Gazeley and Russ Abbott.  The later powering over to underline the ascendancy Ilkley had. 

Huddersfield were now in desperation mode.  Two Minotaurs were released from the dug out.  They ran at the Ilkley players with real purpose, however each time they were chopped down around their ankles.  The technique shown was exemplary.  Huddersfield rallied and scored a late try through the forwards, however it was apparent that their race was run.  Ilkley continued to press hard being judged to have been held up over the line, on three occasions, despite Noel Lambeth Walk offering the referee the benefit of his personal VAR.

The Sainsbury's Prop had one more show and go, which wrongfooted the defensive line perfectly.  Captain Gazeley led from the front tirelessly driving his team forward.  Razzer, having been plucked from obscurity was now the Cantona esq talisman of the team, smashing tackles in with a broad grin on his face.  Athos Redgrave continued to drive the scrum forwards, Jean Pierre and Jackie G bashed their opposite numbers backwards time after time.  Sonny McGuigan was singled out for praise by a Yorkshire selector for his decision making and guile. Goose Ramarge and Dangerous Dylan battered through the centres.  Sabre Sabey, Flash Blakey and Haircut 100 chased every kick and compressed space beautifully.  The latter produced a couple of imposing tackles when it really mattered.

Bullion Bedford clattered through the defensive line time and again.  The Team Hairdresser carried out the game plan perfectly, showing real commitment to the cause and Sprinkles and Braveheart answered the call from the bench and ran tirelessly, showing the strength in depth of the squad.  

To a man the Ilkley squad were on song.  It's hard to single anyone out as everyone put in a shift.  The spirit of the side was overwhelming.  The onlooking Doncaster Knights coaches were full of praise for the manner in which the team played.  

The referee blew fulltime and the players rightly went wild.  They'd done it.  Against the odds they had produced their best ever performance.  They totally deserved the victory.  It was the perfect end to the season and to their junior rugby.  They have been an absolute pleasure to coach, they are a credit to themselves, their families and the club.  The baton is now passed to them to take the club forward.

Thanks goes to the many people who travelled to support.  It was great to see the club president, chairman of rugby and director of rugby, alongside two legends of the club John Hope and Christopher Hems.  Also special mention goes to all the parents who travelled on the bus, particularly Sweary Mary and her mates who added to the Brassed Off atmosphere.

On a personal note, I've enjoyed every minute I've spent with the squad.  There have been lots of highs and a few lows (mainly involving Henry VIII).  I've watched some players fall by the wayside and others grow into fine rugby players and more importantly fantastic men.  The compliments they receive are fully deserved.  I wish you all well, wherever your stars take you, I know you will make us proud.


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