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Ilkley chop down Barnsley
Ilkley 30 Barnsley 8
Propping up Yorkshire One, it was always going to be a tricky fixture for the visitors and so it proved, despite notching up the first points in a match in which the drab conditions played their part.
Honest endeavour is no substitute for skill and despite Barnsley’s never-say-die attitude, their tactics and general lack of cohesion proved to be their downfall, despite a second half in which they had two-thirds of possession.
Ilkley’s approach to the game was both workmanlike and effective and despite going 3-0 down after Barnsley’s lively start, that was the visitors’ only score until the dying moments of the game as the home side ran out comfortable winners.
That first penalty by Patrick Jensen for the visitors was nullified when Tom Collard, deputising for the absent Mike Cacchia, landed a successful kick.
Having conceded just the three points in the first 20 minutes, Ilkley then started a period of aerial ping-pong, followed by a penalty kick to the corner.
Steve Burns – sorely missed at York – took the line-out and with a certain inevitability, the Ilkley pack mauled its way over for Tom Baxter to score his first try for the club, Collard failing to convert.
Ilkley’s second try was a peach, scored by skipper Stuart Vincent, with grateful thanks to Craig Barker and JH Johnson. Vincent ran in under the posts to enable Collard to slot the conversion.
Ahead 15-3, Ilkley did not sit back and took the game back to Barnsley with a deft backs’ movement that was spoiled by a knock-on with the line beckoning.
Barnsley duly won the scrum but a poor clearance kick allowed the Ilkley pack to set up a trademark maul from which Iain McKenzie once again emerged ball in hand for the first of his two tries. A superb kick by Collard brought the score to 22-3.
The second half started badly for the home side, with a desperate Barnsley immediately on the offensive.
However, when Craig Barker hacked on a ball that had squirted out from a scrum, the resultant 5m scrum eventually saw McKenzie score under the posts with Coillard converting.
Whilst no real set pattern emerged in the rest of the second half, there is no doubt that Barnsley enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and even after a spate of handbags at dawn, the visitors met with an outstanding Ilkley defence.
This possession and the home side’s inability to counter it legally led to a stream of penalties.
Ilkley’s final score was a penalty, earned when Vincent’s up and under clearance return caused the Barnsley defence to stray offside, Collard securing another three points.
This really should have been it, but Barnsley, to their great credit, did not lie down and after a period of great pressure, hooker Todd Chapman crashed over on the far left for a consolation try, the conversion sailing well wide.
This was a competent Ilkley performance, against a side which seemed to have got their tactics wrong from the first minute.
Had Barnsley taken on the Ilkley forwards, instead of gamely chucking the ball wide, they may have made better progress, but their backs were outclassed by Ilkley’s and the visitors suffered as a consequence.
Ilkley deservedly move up to third place after this win and with no game this Saturday, can relax in the bar in the hope that the England can win a Grand Slam.