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Ilkley come close but mistakes and penalties prove costly

Saturday 1st October 2022, Scunthorpe RUFC vs ILKLEY RFC, Heslam Park, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire - Scunthorpe 31 pts, Ilkley 29 pts

Match Report by John Hope

A first ILKLEY visit in living memory to the well appointed Heslam Park Club was greeted with warm hospitality.

Scunthorpe, without a win this season, welcomed back two of their larger specimens to the pack. They were cautiously optimistic of getting the victory and they were eventually not disappointed despite having been behind for much of the game. Conversely, Ilkley fashioned to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, conceding with three minutes to play when a cautious, up the jumper game in the Scunthorpe 22 might well have clinched it for the visitors.

Ilkley conceded first having conceded four penalties before the home side turned to the heavy armour to rumble over. Try scored by lock Simon Fisher, converted by Connor Brewster. 7-0.

The Dalesmen hit back immediately with JH Johnson’s take from the restart being fed out to Kristan Dobson who scored from half way with a typical mazy weaving run to the posts for the equalising try. Johnson improved. 7-7.

Scunthorpe thought they had another score but winger Leggate’s foot was ruled in touch.

Ilkley broke out and a scrum penalty followed by a lineout penalty fashioned another great chance for Dobson. He was held up on the line. A high tackle penalty gave Johnson a shot at goal. His kick from 35 metres was beautifully weighted on the vicious cross field breeze. 10-7

Scunthorpe came back but the remarkable Dalesmen defence held strong under pressure.

Then space seemed to open up as the home side ran the ball through the backs, first right, then left. A long pass out to their winger Liam Brunt was spotted in mid air by speedster Harry Harrison and he was quickly onto the ball and at the speed of light at the other end touching down for Ilkley’s second try. Johnson took care of the formalities. 17-7.

A 10 point lead at the break looked good but much work and effort would be required to consolidate. The coaches’ message would certainly be; cut the preventable mistakes and cut the penalty count.

Ilkley began the half defending off the home side’s restart. Ed Brown cleared but the kick was returned with a high ball into Ilkley’s 22. The bounce and the low afternoon bright sunlight deceived the 2 defenders and winger Josh Lugsden was there at speed to pluck the ball out of the air and charge over for a try under the sticks. Brewster added the extras. 17-14

A high tackle on Johnson was punished by referee Mr Hurdley with a yellow card for no. 8 Ben Hyde.

Despite Ilkley’s scrum with Ed Martin, Nathan Hyde and Rob Sigsworth gaining increasing superiority they failed to capitalise and 2 or 3 penalties gave Scunthorpe back the initiative. They took full advantage of 2 more penalties to win a lineout 5 metres from the line. Seemingly inevitably, they rumbled over for flanker Mick Dunk to score. 17-19

In style the Dalesmen hit back back with a free kick from a scrum setting up a great team try for wing Jack Brown. 22-19

With a full quarter still to play there were certainly going to be more twists and turns to this fascinating, tense and full bloodied match.

Sure enough Scunthorpe hit back camping in Ilkley’s 22. Two penalties to win lineouts were repelled. Another penalty conceded gave Jack Leibster a ten minute rest and Scunthorpe opted for the scrum. Several rumbles were defended but the wall was breached as prop Kane Linklater battered his way over to score. 22-24

More powerful rugby from ILKLEY aided and abetted by Scunthorpe coughing up two penalties set up Harry Smith (on for the hard working Jack Brown) for a strong charge at the line. The ball was set well and three phases later the lead was restored courtesy of Kodie Brook and Johnson with the conversion. 29-24.

Surely with just injury time play ILKLEY could produce a mistake and penalty free finale. It wasn’t to be. A couple of poor plays put the home side back on the front foot and inside Ilkley’s 22 with the Dalesmen defending with all their might, Scunthorpe looked like a side clearly determined not let the win go. The battling Peter Erskine - what a game he had - was forced to leave the field, Jack Brown recalled and a pushover try from replacement Gavin Hale gave his side the winning score. 29-31.

Inevitably there was time for another ILKLEY attack but a knock on foiled the gallant Dalesmen.

They return home with a set back, but four tries and a losing margin of just two points gives them two bonus points and a move UP the table to sixth place.

There is no league rugby this week. It is a rest week for the 1st XV. It is to be hoped that repairs and maintenance can be carried out on the walking wounded. At the last count after four matches 12 of Ilkley’s starting eighteens were not available for selection for the Scunthorpe game.

Ilkley’s 2nd XV travelled with their senior colleagues to Heslam Park and ran out 31-20 winners of a tight game. There are some prospects amongst these young men.

The future looks bright!

LIVE coverage from Drystone Radio with our fantastic Andrew "Dobby" Dobson providing a play by play commentary is available to listen to for up to 30 days on the Drystone Sport Show Playback here.


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