Wetherby 17 - Ilkley 17
Ilkley travelled to Wetherby, scrambling for players, due to the ever increasing injury list. The latest casualties being Jake Rochford (dislocated Shoulder) and Jack Gilbert (throat infection). Wetherby gave Ilkley two players who were surplus to their requirements.
With several lads playing out of position Ilkley were disorganised which instantly showed straight from the kick off. Wetherby camped on Ilkley's line and the away team was forced to concede six penalties before the inevitable yellow card. Sonny McGuigan was sent to the bin. With Ilkley all over the place, Wetherby took advantage and powered over the line. The try was converted.
The pressure continued as Ilkley couldn't maintain phases of play and Wetherby enjoyed lots of space to run into. The Ilkley 12 filling in at 10 found it difficult to link up play with the backline. The occasional clearance kick with a solid chase relieved pressure and Ilkley started to get into the game. A misplaced touchline kick found the Wetherby wing who was tackled into touch before throwing the ball back in field. Ilkley paused but the flag didn't go up. Wetherby seized the opportunity to score out wide. A tough lesson to learn. The conversion was missed.
Things were not looking good. The players needed to self reflect, look at the scoreboard and give each other a kick up the pants. They came back hard. They started to get some shape and play was taken into the Wetherby half for the first time. There was some strong running from the Blackpool Tower, Louis Clough and Captain Gazeley, playing in the centre. James "Snoop Dog" Paisley was fed the ball on the Wetherby 10 metre line and the usual two step shuffle to get through the defensive line was followed by a Carl Lewis esq sprint. His mane flowing behind him, he hit top speed and cruised to the line. It was just the tonic Ilkley needed. The conversion was missed.
Wetherby were in front 12 - 5 at the break.
Ilkley looked better after the break, however a loss of concentration and a misplaced pass saw the opposition in Ilkley's 22. The defensive line was set, however some poor tackling presented the opportunity for the home side to score in the corner. The conversion was missed.
It was so frustrating. Two steps forward one step back. Rather than lick their wounds the Ilkley lads rolled up the sleeves and dragged the game back from the brink. Max Freeman came into his own. The Sainsburys prop charged forward, crashing the attempted tackles backwards. The Ilkley pack followed suit, with sustained phase play. Jean Pierre showed excellent leg driving to force his way through the middle of the Wetherby forwards to score. The conversion was slotted home. Ilkley started to show belief and for the first time confidence. Passes started to go to hand and Wetherby were creaking. Forwards and backs made line breaks and excellent rucking produced good ball. Jean Pierre, was the right man in the right place to pick up from the ruck and ran in 15 meters to score, taking him to the top of the try scoring tree. A richly deserved try.
With the scores at 17 - 17 with a minute plus stoppages to go, the wideout kick was required to win the match. The Ilkley 12 connected well. It soured high over the posts, however went directly over the left post. The flags stayed down. The match was drawn.
A break in matches gives the side time to get players back to full fitness.