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Win to Start The New Year

Saturday 7th January, Ilkley 1st XV 14 pts, Scunthorpe 1st XV 7pts


Match report by Sean Crannigan


New Year being a boil on the backside of Christmas , the only item on the menu was cold Turkey as both sides hadn’t played for a month and boy, did it show in this bargain basement scrap that both sides were uber-desperate to win.


In the end it was the Dalesmen who prevailed and deservedly so, with man of the match Kristan Dobson proving to be the difference between the sides, setting up Ilkley’s first try after a blistering start and then, after what to have seemed an eternity, scoring the winning try with five minutes to go.


With Dobson obviously on fire with ball to hand, a jinking run and a beautifully weighted pass to Floris van Oekel on the right wing set Ilkley hearts racing after just two minutes. The burly winger still had a bit to do, but swatting off the first would-be tackler enabled him to touch down close enough near the posts to make Chuckie Ramsay’s conversion a formality. 7-0 after 3 minutes seemed to suggest a stroll in the park was to follow.


But no. Scunthorpe unleashed a series of attacks that Ilkley did well to defend, as indeed they did throughout the game, but eventually the pressure told and flanker James Dyson was on hand when the Ilkley defence ran out of numbers. Number 8 Ben Hyde’s kick levelled the scores at 7-7 after just 18 minutes.


And for the next hour, that was it, Ilkley’s new electro-bling scoreboard seemingly stuck with a tied score. Neither side looked likely to score, though it was certainly a case of Ilkley’s defence against Scunthorpe’s attack.


Half-time came and went, along with a plethora of knock-ons, lost-line outs, misdirected passes and general play that reflected the long lay-off both sides had suffered from. Oh, how to be grumpy from the comfort of the terraces !


Midway through the second half, a flurry of handbags alleviated the on-field dullness, resulting in a double yellow, one from each side. Both sides also continued their yapping to the hitherto patient referee Mr Robson who might well have acted sooner.


With five minutes left and Ilkley looking marginally the better side by now, a moment of magic by Dobson won the match. A break, a shimmy and a broken tackle saw the Ilkley centre touch down under the posts. Replacement Ed Brown slotted the kick and at 14.7, that was the win secured, surely?


Nope ! There was still time for a Kodie Brook penalty kick to touch to win a line that Ilkley lost, followed by a break-out by Scunthorpe that got perilously close to causing an upset, but it was the Lincolnshire lads who left disappointed at full time.


The win saw Ilkley go up one place in the league and provides a little comfort before next week’s away match at West Bridgford. Having narrowly beaten the Nottinghamshire side earlier in the season, this has to be a win too, in order to avoid further palpitations as the season draws to its premature close mid-March.


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