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Ilkley give Ponty a mauling
Ilkley 52 Pontefract 19
Ilkley wrestled themselves back into winning ways on Saturday with a fine win over a hapless Pontefract side at Stacks Field on Saturday.
The Dalesmen, who have been going through an inconsistent phase, ran in eight tries in a scintillating display of fast and imaginative running rugby.
They didn’t have it all their own way though, and it was the away side who achieved the first score when scrum-half Matt Hargreaves caught the Ilkley line-out defence cold and sneaked into the corner in the fifth minute.
Fourth-placed Ilkley struck straight back. A penalty from the kick-off was planted into the corner, and the old faithful line-out to maul set-up paid dividends for the free-scoring Iain McKenzie who rumbled over for the first of his three tries.
The frantic start gave way to a period of Ilkley control. Pontefract’s indiscipline handed the home side plenty of opportunity, and good hands after a string of territory-gaining Mike Cachia kicks allowed the returning JH Johnson to touch down.
Cachia’s boot was reliable throughout, and he landed a fine conversion from the left touchline.
Another rumble gave McKenzie his second try and even a yellow card for the impressive Ollie Renton could not halt Ilkley. This told just before the break when Kris Stafford scored from a line-out.
Ilkley’s early second-half form can often be inconsistent to say the least, but on Saturday, they started brightly. McKenzie completed his hat-trick with his 19th try of the season, after a quick penalty by Tom Collard.
Pontefract began to grow into the game, albeit a little late. Wave after wave of attack came to nothing, before a snap move from Glen Boyd resulted in a try. Andy Dean converted, and Ilkley’s lead was pegged back to 31-12.
A vital Paul Petchey interception released immense Pontefract pressure, and when defence was turned to attack by some strong midfield running, Ilkley smelt blood.
Cachia converted another Johnson try shortly before skipper Stuart Vincent ran over for his third try in as many weeks. Confidence restored, Ilkley were taking full advantage of the soft Pontefract defence.
Defensive issues aside, their attacking prowess was impressive.
A sliding run from Boyd set Chris Sant off running, and Dean duly converted for a dose of consolation points.
Undeterred, the Dalesmen polished their performance with a converted Charlie Davy try, the first of his first-team career, to leave the score at 52-19.
Ilkley will hope to build on this bullish performance when they welcome Knottingley to Stacks Field on Saturday.