ILKLEY COLTS 22 - RIPON COLTS 12
Ilkley welcomed Ripon to a gloomy Stacks Field. The morning's rain had stopped, however it left a wet field and wetter rugby ball.
Warren Rimmer officiated the fixture. A new referee to the team.
Ilkley received the kick off and went to work immediately setting up quick ruck ball from forward pods, displaying good driving legwork. Ramage was prominent and hungry for work. Ripon transgressed early on and the penalty kick took Ilkley deep into the Ripon half. A combination of forward and backs semi line breaks and quick ball culminated in Jean Pierre diving over the line with barely three minutes gone. The conversion slid by the uprights and Ilkley were brimming with confidence.
The restart saw Ilkley continue to dominate possession, however they started to give away penalties for hanging on to the ball. Ripon were excellent at the jackel and counter ruck. This continued throughout the half with a very high penalty count in Ripon's favour. This really stunted Ilkley's game plan to run the ball at every opportunity. There was no continuity and the game was somewhat stifled. On the half hour mark Ilkley, who had been playing a majority of the game in the Ripon half managed to get the ball wide from some effective line breaks. The Head Boy made no mistake cutting in from the left wing to beat two cover tacklers to score. The conversion was successful.
It was 12 nil at halftime.
The second half unfortunately followed a similar pattern with Ripon being highly effective in the jackal, preventing any quick ball in decent areas of the pitch. Ripon managed sustained pressure in the Ilkley 22 and eventually forced a score through forward pressure.
Ilkley continued to struggle to present good clean ball and the backs tried to force the play from some very defensive positions, which put the team under immense pressure as often it was dropped or the passes didn't go to hand. When it did work it was a thing of beauty, seeing backs opening up and one one foray putting winger Pullen away. He sped over the halfway line only for Ripon's wing to hang on to his shorts to slow him sufficiently for the cover defence to complete the tackle. The break was continued before Ripon were forced to dive in from the side to prevent the pass to release on waiting backs with an overlap. The penalty was awarded and Rahmbo Ridgeway fresh from golf club junior captaincy duties slotted over from 30 metres.
Ripon restarted 15 - 7 down, however an immediate knock on gave them the impetus. Ilkley held firm, despite conceding many penalties for high tackles. The Ripon 10 put a speculative kick over the Head Boy. He ran back and went to pick up, only to fumble. The Ripon chaser was delighted, picking up the ball and scoring in the corner. A highly unusual error. The conversion was missed.
The pressure was right back on Ilkley. Scrum half Sonny McGuigan had unfortunately badly bruised his hand which meant a reshuffle. Rahmbo went to 9 and Sam Brown slotted back in at 10.
At 15 - 12 the game was in the balance. Ilkley produced some solid play and took the ball up the field to the Ripon 22. Continued pressure brought about a wayward defensive clearance which went to Shirt Robber Rochford on the halfway line. He cleanly took the ball and set off on a balanced sprint, slaloming between defenders at top speed. The line looked at his mercy, however a last ditch tackle brought him down. Ilkley produced a quick ball from the resulting ruck and Captain Gazeley capped a fine performance with a deserved try. Rahmbo kicked the conversion.
This really took the wind out of Ripon's sails and the game finished shortly afterwards.
There were a couple of interesting stats from the match. Ilkley gave away 17 penalties to Ripon's 8. Ilkley's first half passes 56 to the second half 18.
It's fair to say the Ilkley lads were too complacent. The early try didn't help and next week's opposition Wharfedale will be a much harder test, having beaten Ilkley the last time they played.
Thanks goes to the many senior players and legends who came down to support the lads, it is a heck of a boost and gives real home advantage.
Next week's kick off is 1pm at Stacks Field. Please come and support, it'll be a cracker!