Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting IGNEWS to 80360, or email
Ilkley have a Field day
Ilkley 31 Knottingley 27
Ilkley once again went to sleep in the second half of a tense game at Stacks Field.
Having led 28-15 at half-time they allowed a spirited Knotting ley side, inspired by their outstanding no8 Craig Field, to hit back.
Eventually the hosts hung on to win 31-27 thanks to four first-half tries from Paul Petchey, Kris Stafford and two from Steve Nolson.
Mike Cacchia converted all four tries and kicked a second-half penalty for a haul of 11 points.
Belying their lowly status, Knottingley were not afraid of taking on the Ilkley forwards and it was only in the backs that the home side had the edge.
Stuart Vincent had a fine game at full-back and the entire back line looked composed and balanced.
Vincent started the move that led to Ilkley’s first try, fielding a miscued clearance and then feeding JH Johnson, who in turn passed inside to the supporting Nolson, who scored under the posts.
Knottingley replied almost immediately with a Mick Piper penalty, but from the kick off they infringed, allowing Cacchia to force a line-out five metres from the line with a fine penalty kick.
A catch and drive eventually saw lock Stafford emerge from a pile of bodies with the try. Cacchia’s kick made it 14.3 Then Ilkley received a taste of their own medicine as Field scored the first of his hat-trick of tries from a maul close to the Ilkley line. Piper converted to bring the visitors closer at 14-10.
Ilkley’s backs were in sparkling form and even after a couple of forward passes frustrated the crowd, they had the skills to put Petchey in on the right wing for a scintillating try, beautifully converted by Cacchia.
Knottingley bounced straight back, Field loping over for his second and then a rarity, as Piper’s conversion attempt was charged down by Johnson, the two points saved eventually acting as a welcome cushion.
The score moved on to 28-15 after another great penalty from the reliable boot of Cacchia took Ilkley to just one metre out.
This time the backs were used and Nolson crashed over for his second and his team’s last try of the match.
The second half started in lively fashion, Ilkley winning two penalties in quick succession, the second ably converted by Cacchia to put Ilkley 31-15 up.
The home side looked out of sight, but Knottingley had other ideas.
For the remainder of the half they put Ilkley severely under the cosh.
Knottingley came back from 31-5 down to 31-26 in the first meeting between the sides this season and they made a recovery of similar proportions here.
Knottingley scored 12 un- answered points, gaining a well-deserved two bonus points which lifted them off the bottom of the league.
Their comeback started after Stafford was yellow carded.
Knottingley were then penal- ised at the point of scoring a pushover try before their pressure finally told as a poor clearance kick was capitalised upon as Field claimed his third try.
Ilkley finally got into the opposition half and thought they had scored a try when a great backs move was finished off by Johnson. However their joy was cut short as the visiting touch-judge had his flag raised.
Visiting centre Jamie Milton was carded for an innocuous looking tackle and Knottingley cleared their lines.
Deep into injury time Vincent was harshly carded for a high tackle, but Knottingley elected to scrummage, rather than take the simple penalty that would have guaranteed the bonus point.
From that scrum it seemed inevitable that they would score and indeed they did, lock Carl Clayton crashing over to finish the day’s scoring.
Having won their last three games on the trot, Knottingley were always going to prove to be tricky opponents, so their gritty determination came as no surprise.
They are fighting to avoid relegation and it clearly showed.
Ilkley’s backs continued where they left off against Pontefract the week before, but had so little possession in the second half that they were not able to profit from their superior skills.
Ilkley’s forwards are not the force they were last season and they struggled in the second half.
The next match away at improving York will be a stern test, but until then, Ilkley can enjoy the move up into third place that this hard-fought victory earned them.