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Ilkley Colts Edge Out Ripon To Go Through To Yorkshire Plate Final!

FT Result: Ripon 12 v Ilkley 19

The Semi Final of the Colts Yorkshire Plate saw Ilkley visit the picturesque city of Ripon.

Torrential rain had affected the previous day's senior rugby and left Stacks Field looking like the Battle of the Somme had taken place, rather than the third team's handsome victory over Leeds Medics.  It was great news that the game was going ahead. 

The rain had disappeared and was replaced by beams of weak spring sunshine forcing their way through winter's heavy overcoat.

The Riponians are a pleasant bunch of players and coaches and a hard, fair contest was anticipated.

Ilkley, despite some notable players absent through injury fielded a very strong side.  Well, up to the warm up that is, until Jean Peirre, the sides leading try scorer pulled up lame after turning his ankle in warm up.  This gave Jackie G his chance to step in.  

For the second time this season referee Ivor Lotatats took charge of proceedings.

At the start of the match it was Ilkley who showed great intent, with hard driving runs from Samlent Assassin Vernon and Goose Ramerge, supported well by Louis Getthrough and the Ilkley Tower.  The forwards were dominant, however in fairness to the well drilled Ripon defence they stood up well to the task.  Ilkley lacked patience and tried to force their way through with a delicate kick, however this only passed over possession.  

The game was played largely in the Ripon 22 and their defence stood firm with only the odd discretion being identified by the ref.  Rahmbo had two penalty attempts squeezed wide of the posts and Ripon were lucky not to be behind.  

Ilkley maintained the pressure and after a missed touchline clearance was fielded by the new fullback Bomber Brown.  He gathered well and mounted a counter up the narrow side.  A succession of rucks took place near the Ripon line before Athos Redgrave was fed the ball.  Knowing he wasn't going to make it he quickly shipped to Louis Getthrough who dived over in the corner.  Handling sharper than a Lancia Integrale at Monza.  A quality piece of play from the Ilkley lock.

The conversion went wide and the Riponians started to give Rahmbo the needle for some close but inaccurate kicks.

Ripon could not penetrate into Ilkley's half with the ball in hand such was the intensity of the tackles.  Unfortunately Ivor Lotatats judged an Ilkley player as holding on to the ball too long and gave a penalty.  This was well struck into the Ilkley corner and the heavy horses went to work.  The catch and drive defence was not at the level required and a perambulating giant reached out to dot the ball over the try line.  The try was unconverted and half time was called, five a piece.

The resumption of play brought about an untidy affair.  Neither side settled and frustration was building.  Ilkley freshened up the forwards with Bullion Bedford eager to carry.  The Riponians attacked Ilkley's line hard from another catch and drive.  Ramerge busted through the middle of the ruck only for Mr Lotatats to take exception, producing a yellow card.  The Riponians seized their opportunity and went hard at the Ilkley line.  This was a roll your sleeves up and be counted part of the match.  The Ilkley Colts were Gandalf esq in not allowing anyone past.  Some heroic tackles went in, which unfortunately resulted in the very tidy Ripon fullback hitting the soft ground hard.  Another victim of a broken clavicle resulted in a long delay in the match.  We wish the poor lad well in his recovery.  The rest suited Ripon and they came back at Ilkley hard and crashed over for a converted try.

The referee waved Ramerge back on and Ilkley then produced their best 20 minutes of team rugby of the season.  To a man jack they stepped up to the plate.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, carried hard, tackled hard and produced sustained pressure on the Riponians.

The Team Hairdresser produced an outstanding run taking the ball deep into the Ripon 22.  The resulting rucks saw the Sainsburys Prop dive over in the corner.  This was a joy to watch.  Up stepped Rahmbo, the weight of earlier kicks, the needle and last year's Yorkshire Cup Semi Final miss on his shoulders.  Kicking from the touchline with barely 10 minutes to go, needing to slot to draw level.  The crowd sportingly went quiet.  Middleferdiddle, split the uprights.  BOOM.  It was like watching Stuart Pierce's penalty against Spain!  Game on.  Ilkley took play immediately back into the Riponians 22.  They continued to get within inches only to make errors at the final scoring moment.  Not to be deterred they carried on, the pressure was palpable.  The crowd were now in full voice.  Pounding for the line, repeated drives by Ramerge, the Assassin, the Tower and Captain Gazeley were rebuffed.  Up stepped the newby Razzer.  Ball under his arm, low centre of gravity and the momentum of a runaway train, smashed into the defence and slammed the ball over the line.  The away crowd erupted.  Once again Rahmbo held his now ice cold nerve to slot the extras.  7 points up with 3 minutes to go.  

The Riponians came back with all their might and had to resort to the boot only for Bomber to field and secure.

The referee blew the final whistle on the end of a fantastic game of cup rugby.

Credit goes to some of the unsung heroes, as everyone, to a man, contributed to the best team performance of the year.  The Baildon massive stood up tall today, Sabre Sabey, Haircut 100, Flash Blakey and Russ Abbott, gave their all.  The centres today, Head Boy Ballard and Rocket Rochford fought hard against a quality backline and special mention goes to Goose Faberge.  I have never seen a player take five players for a walk more many times.  He refused to be tackled, he would not go down and he optimised the raison d'etre of the Colts.

I can speak for all the coaches, we have never been so proud. 

Huddersfield await Ilkley in the final. 28th April - Played at Doncaster - KO TBC.


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