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Ilkley Through To Aire Wharfe Cup Final

At Yarnbury RUFC, Yarnbury vs ILKLEY RFC, Result Yarnbury 8 pts, Ilkley 66 pts


The Dalesmen travelled up to Horsforth to play Yarnbury for a coveted place in the final of the Aire Wharfe Cup. In the end the Cup holders were simply too good for the home team whose side, a blend of old and young, never stopped trying but simply didn’t have the firepower to get over the ILKLEY line.


Ilkley themselves had three seasoned campaigners in scrum half Jack Maplesden who is finding his way back into the game following almost a season’s sabbatical, warhorse Luke Gamble whose back row play never ceases to amaze. Eddie Brown made up the trio. The rest of the team was made up of the young men of the future and, from the touchline, the future certainly looks promising.


The first half started frenetically with ILKLEY looking the more likely to score but coughing up penalties and making one or two unforced errors allowing Yarnbury to threaten at the other end.


The deadlock was finally broken when a counter ruck set up an fluid attack down the left. With a “free ball”, it was sent out left for Louis Rosefall to show a clean pair of seriously fast heels and score the opener. Harry Smith converted.


Four more tries followed in the first half.


The first came from a steal at the lineout and hack through for Jack Popely to take the ball over the line.


An Eddie Brown break set up Jack Brown for the next try as several defenders were left chasing shadows.


Smith’s three conversions were successful.


Yarnbury then took 3 points as yet another penalty was conceded.


Ollie Dennis (what a player he will be) began to impose his considerable presence with a charge upfield but mistakes allowed Yarnbury to clear almost to the ILKLEY line. That was repelled with a monster Smith clearance. The ball was regained and Popely and Rosefall combined beautifully to allow the latter to bag his brace. Smith missed this one.


Half time 33-3.


Suitably refreshed and revived Maplesden opened the second half scoring with a jinking snipe and crashed over the line to score. Smith regained his accuracy.


Following a high tackle on Tom Heap which ended his participation, the resulting lineout was driven over from 15 metres for an unconverted group score.


Another lineout saw the rampant Rosefall come off his wing to make his tally into a hat trick. Smith again on song.


Ilkley once again overstepped the mark with the referee, conceding 2 yellow cards in as many minutes and the two man advantage finally allowed Yarnbury the space to score an unconverted try.


With 13 men ILKLEY added two more tries. One from a powerful run by Smith, shaking of tackles like a gazelle shaking off lions. The other after a great steal by Will Downs both having the extras added by Smith’s trusty boot.


Final score Yarnbury 8, Ilkley 66.


Ilkley now meet old rivals in this competition Old Otliensians at Otley, date and time to be announced. Watch this space.


This was a satisfactory performance. Satisfactory rather than perfect because a plethora of unnecessary penalties and some unforced errors frustrated several more scoring opportunities. Nonetheless it was a great result.


‘Ensians 1st XV will provide stubborn and aggressive opposition after their league season, one of their best for several years, ended in disappointment just losing out on promotion.


As the season draws to a close the unsung heroes who make it all possible should be celebrated. One such is Yarnbury stalwart and current Yorkshire RFU President John Riley who has single-handedly organised this end season tournament for more years than anyone can remember. Thank you Mr President!

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