Saturday 28th January, Ilkley Centurions 27 pts, Leodiensians 2nd XV 12pts
Following a two week break the centurions came into the week looking light on playing personnel due to a stag do out of the blue. Pidgeon carriers were sent out to all corners of the kingdom pleading with people to stand up and be counted. The responses came swift.
Our opposition this week were the men from Crag Lane, Leodiensians 2's one of our most established opponents who always give a good account of themselves and a pleasure to lock horns with. Saturday 28th January was to be no different serving up a proper rugby encounter.
Leo's looked the part with a big physical pack and youthful looking back line....In contrast the Ilkley pack was giving away at least a stone a man and the back line more interested in talking to veteran Matt Walker in the stands blessing us with his presence. Throw in the mix the Leeds game was on in the club house, attentions were elsewhere.
We were again to be on the main club pitch which was worrying looking at the youthful opposition backs. The 2nd pitch was not an option as it looked as though an entire armoured division had rolled over it.
The game kicked off at a surprising pace with the forwards exchanging light artillery that Ilkley seemed in control of. Ollie Dennis was leading the way with some forceful carrying and equally forceful tackling...this provided just reward as the big 2nd rower crossed in the first three minutes taking two defenders over the line in the corner. The extras not forthcoming 5-0.
The next ten minutes were to set the tone for the game, Ilkley going through the phases controlling the tackle, the break down and ball retention no easy task against such a well-disciplined side as the Leo machine. Charlie Brow and Jack De Ath were dictating matters with some clever probing of the Leo's back line that eventually paid its reward to release the ever green Calum Gillon for the first of his two try's. The Ilkley veteran showing why when he does play why he can be such an important cog in the machine. Lee Brown managing to tag on the extras took the score to 12-0.
This seemed to galvanise Leo's who began to use their considerable forwards to work towards the Ilkley corner, sensing blood they chipped through only to be denied by the Ilkley speed merchant Henry Ackroyd who managed to knock the ball dead. Unfortunately Henry had to leave the field due to a knock thus introducing the best looking man in Burley In Wharfedale- Daaarnell (Danny Robinson) who wasted no time in making his presence known cutting down the opposition second row like a lumber jack in a wood. Winger or not he punches well above his weight.
Half time came with little negative to say...just keep doing what we were doing and the rest would take care of itself.
The 2nd half began with the Ilkley backs moving the ball around with relative ease, Dave Horner and Ben Campbell getting on the end of some very useful ball from the silky handling of the stand in 10 Jack De Ath. Following one such strong carry from Horner, Danny Robinson appeared on his shoulder to crash through a number of would be tackles to stretch the lead to 17-0. Conversion negative.
An indiscretion following the re start allowed stand in skipper for the day Lee Brown to take the score to 20-0. This saw Leo’s wake up, they began to rumble forward with their behemoth pack slowly chewing out yards against some desperate defending Assame, Morley, Dennis and Rawnsley to the fore putting their bodies on the line for the cause. Unfortunately the pressure was to tell with Leos scoring a well earned try. 20-7.
Centurions breathing heavy under the sticks…nothing was to be said. Time to dig deep and muster the reserves of what was left in the tank. Chloe the physio patching the men up desperately also deserves a shout at this point, we would not have finished with 15 if it weren’t for her.
With the bench now burnt through due to a number of injuries it was time for people to play out of position. Calum Gillon leading the way in the centres was to grab his second try of the day, good work from Lee Brown bombing the Leos 22 with what must have seem like meteorites coming from the heavens led to a spilt ball and Gillon to react fastest grabbing the ball setting off like there was to be no tomorrow and dotting down over the line. Brown obliged with the extras. 27-7.
Leo’s, however, were yet done with the game. Capitalising on an Ilkley mistake the would be winger/second row chipped through leaving the Ilkley back line flat footed and despite desperate work to get back seeing some great cover defence from the forwards Leo’s were to get their reward. Conversion missed 27-12.
The Ilkley players looked utterly shot under the sticks with ten minutes to go not a word “Once more unto the breach, dear friends: once more”
Ilkley spent the next ten minutes controlling what was left of the game with desperate defending being the staple. Ollie Dennis leading the way with some massive hits duly backed up by his dance partners Tom Morley and Mark Trickett. The backs doing their part when required. FT 27-12.
Whilst Charlie Brow was deemed man of the match for his control of the forwards and backs there needs to be acknowledgement of the front row with both props doing 80 minutes Lewis Pemberton being the stand out. He has only played a handful of games for us but has stuck his hand up settled right in at tight head. Lastly Ollie Dennis and Calum Gillon could consider themselves unlucky not to be MOM as they were everywhere.
Next week we entertain the champions in waiting Wetherby 2’s at Stacks field. With the 1’s at home it should be a cracker. Get the tweed blazers out people.
Note some of the above may have been exaggerated for entertainment purposes.
See more match photos from Ruggerpix here.