Saturday 4th February 2023, Ilkley 1st XV 46 pts, Paviors 1st XV 12 pts,
A re-arranged game and a re-arranged team, with five changes from last week’s team-sheet. As the Dalesmen had played so well in defeat at Billingham, there was some pre-match trepidation as to whether a similar performance was possible, with both Kristan Dobson and Harry Harrison unavailable in the backs.
In the event, these fears proved groundless, as a second-half blitz of tries led to the best win of the season, giving Ilkley the full five points and whilst remaining fourth from bottom, there is now ten points worth of clear water between them and third from bottom Paviors.
Ilkley ran in seven tries, five coming in a classy second-half display, though rather alarming was the penalty count, which on another day might have been their undoing - 17 conceded to 6 gained.
It took only seven minutes for Ilkley to bring the fancy new scoreboard onto action, Steve Costello initiating a break-out from defence after the ball had been turned over. After several hard yards, he found Kieran Wileyman on his shoulder and the centre outpaced the despairing defence to touch down near the posts, Chuckie Ramsay’s conversion compensating for an earlier missed penalty.
Ilkley had the ascendency in this first quarter of the game, but those penalties kept coming, breaking their rhythm. Costello was having a fine game and it was he whom Ilkley had to thank for some crucial defence work as Paviors came close on a couple of occasions.
Then a lost line gave Paviors the advantage, the move being halted with a nasty looking injury to a Paviors player. The visitors won the scrum though and when Ilkley once again conceded a penalty, stand-off George Billam had a pot at goal which he dragged wide.
Riding their luck, Ilkley’s next move saw the ball spin out to right-wing Floris Van Oekel, who made a good 50m before throwing a long pass inside to the supporting Archie Elgood, who made it 12-0 to Ilkley, Ramsay’s kick falling short.
It was nip and tuck off the final 15 minutes of the half, some promising play from both sides being regularly punctuated by Mr. Garland’s whistle - once every three minutes according to his assessor on the balcony.
As both sides retired indoors for the break, there was little doubt that Ilkley were the better side, but could they get those precious points on the board ?
That question was answered after just 4 minutes, as the Dalesmen started with real purpose and it came as no surprise when after a couple of penetrating runs, Costello, J-H Johnson and Van Oekel set up Ramsay to score under the posts. His kick made it 19-0.
Just three minutes later, Ilkley were at it again when Elwood’s kick ahead was collected by Kodie Brook. A few metres gained for a popped pass to the supporting Joe Lowes and then it was Van Oekel again to score in the corner to make it 25-0 and notch up the bonus point.
Paviors responded well and taking advantage of a line-out on Ilkley’s five metre line, courtesy of yet another penalty, Number 8 Phil Eggleshaw went over from the maul, only to be held up, enabling Ilkley to clear.
The visitors though now had the bit between their teeth and following a carbon copy catch and drive, hooker Kieran Wells claimed the try, Billam converting.
After an outstanding contribution, Costello was replaced by Johnson, Ed Brown coming on to take up the Full-back role.
As the game entered the final quarter, Ilkley increased their lead, Ben Walker going over in the corner after a scrappy period of play. Ramsay then made up for the missed conversion by slotting a penalty with 15 minutes remaining, to make it 32-7 and Luke Gamble entered the fray.
A Ramsay chip ahead was well fielded by the Paviors Full-back, but he was the scragged by Van Oekel and that kept the ball in play. Brook collected sweetly and fed Walker, to notch his second Ramsay’s boot was good and it was 39-7 with ten to play.
Ilkley looked the real deal now and despite being under some pressure in the tight, their forwards were rampant in the loose and it came as no surprise when Pete Erskine crashed over for his side’s seventh and last try.
At 46-7, Ilkley felt able to take their foot of the gas somewhat and with a little concentration going, conceded another penalty. Paviors to their credit fought well and were rewarded with the last try of the day when Flanker Ed James rumbled over, bringing the day’s scoring to and end at 46-12.
There was just time for a final penalty to Paviors, Gamble seeing yellow before Mr. Garland’s whistle concerto came to an end, signalling full-time.
So, a good solid win for the Dalesmen, who should be deservedly pleased with their attack, at the same time needing to ratchet down on the penalty count. Next week sees the visit of Cleckheaton and Ilkley will certainly have to keep up the momentum generated in the last two games to get the win.
Match photos from Peter Clark at Ruggerpix can be found here.