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Backs hold key to Ilkley win but defensive lapses are a worry
11:33pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Sport
Ilkley 29 York 22
Perfect rugby conditions awaited both sides in this Yorkshire One clash, York buoyant from an emphatic win last week, and Ilkley looking to bounce back from a narrow loss at Pontefract.
It was Ilkley who looked the sharper side from the start, running the ball out wide and testing the York defence.
After four minutes, the pressure told and Ilkley were awarded a penalty for offside, but Mike Cachia’s kick hit the uprights and rebounded back into play where it was knocked on by a York player.
Ilkley won the resultant scrum and centre Craig Barker produced a well-judged pass to put winger Tulie Makaafi in for the first try.
York hit back, and probed the Ilkley defence, forcing two offside decisions.
Ben Hobson landed one of the penalties and hit the uprights with the other.
Play became scrappy as both sides made too many unforced errors when in possession.
Ilkley were close to scoring on the half hour following a scrum near the left corner.
Left winger Steve Nolson must have thought he couldn’t miss as a pass was floated out to his empty corner, but York’s Bill Cakaunitabua took an interception to sear up the pitch past the groaning Ilkley support.
Fortunately for them, he took a step inside and slipped to the floor, never regaining possession.
Ilkley continued to batter the York defence with full back Ryan Duckett not afraid to push through the centre.
The pressure told after 37 minutes as scrum half Tom Collard and Duckett linked well with crisp passing to create an opening for Nolson.
He brushed off two tackles to touch down and Cachia was successful with the difficult conversion.
That should have been it for the first half, but it dragged on for another seven minutes, and woeful Ilkley defence allowed York to close the score with a try by Willem Enslin converted by Ben Johnson to make it 12-10 at half-time.
Ilkley started the second half as they did the first, dominant, but prone to error strewn madness on occ- asions.
Jimmy Crowther replaced Collard at half-time, and the Ilkley pack began to assert their prowess, taking two scrums against the head.
York were constantly hitting back though, and centre Eddie Bradshaw was a thorn in the Ilkley defence.
Ilkley’s line-out’s were continuously sure footed, and a good take by Steve Burns on halfway set up a stunning try.
The ball was fed out from Crowther to Barker, who then gave it to centre Ned Brown who ran a great line at speed to score under the posts. Cachia’s conversion made it 19-10.
Once again, Ilkley’s defence let them down as York, to their credit, refused to lie down and Alex Nixon scored a try under Ilkley’s posts which Johnson converted to reduce the lead to two points again.
Ilkley then suffered another blow as Iain McKenzie, was sin binned as his tally of yellow cards came close to matching his haul of tries for the current season.
Ilkley thrive on pressure though, and upped their game, the forwards using their trademark driving maul to good effect.
One of these led to a scrum and this time it was inside centre Barker who ran the perfect line to score a try which Cachia converted.
The stand off added a penalty minutes later after an offside infringement by York .
With a 29-17 lead and ten minutes to go it was surely time to shore up the defences and seal the game off.
Unfortunately, Ilkley lost flanker Ollie Renton to the sin bin following a minor infringement in the ruck, and the Dalesmen were again under the cosh.
They eventually conceded a try in the last few minutes.
Once again Ilkley will reflect on some fine back play, but they will need to tighten their defence if they are to avoid the chop at Barnsley on Saturday.