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That's the spirit as Ilkley triumph
10:22am Thursday 12th September 2013 in Sport
Ilkley 13 DoncasterPhoenix 9
Newly-promoted Doncaster Phoenix arrived at Stacks Field full of optimism and with a pack that would look good two leagues higher than Yorkshire Division One.
However, whilst being under the cosh for large segments of the game, Ilkley were resilient enough to graft out a fine win and coach Rhys Morgan can be justifiably delighted with his side’s spirited second-half performance in particular.
Down 6-3 at half-time, Ilkley rallied to score two well-taken tries, both wide out on the left wing and were able to restrict their oppon- ents to one solitary penalty, so running out winners by 13 points to 9.
Ilkley hit the gas from the whistle with Stuart Brewer, Ollie Renton and Alistair Monks prominent. A penalty was conceded by the shell-shocked visitors within two minutes, ably converted by Tom Collard to give the home side a 3-0 lead.
Then Doncaster came back and the first of rather too many unforced errors by the hosts saw Paul Petchey make a very important tackle on his opposite number to nullify the threat.
Then Doncaster took over and basically dominated the rest of the first half, though the ample possession gained was either squandered or rendered ineffective by Ilkley’s defence.
Ilkley’s cause was not helped by several unforced errors, but again, the visitors were not able to capitalise and time after time, Ilkley were able to clear their lines.
Eventually though, the pressure told and visiting fly half Dan Storey levelled the scores with his second kick for goal. Further pressure in the remainder of the half was repulsed by the stout Ilkley defence, scrum-half Tom Collard clearing time after time, but eventually, Don- caster were rewarded for their dominance with a second Storey penalty to give them the lead.
This was nearly increased when a charged-down kick almost resulted in bad news for the Ilkley faithful, but half-time came with the visitors 6-3 ahead and given their dominance, in good heart for the second round.
Ilkley resumed in much the same way as the first, tearing into the opposition and a great field and run by new boy Elliot Morgan took play into the Doncaster 22.
A quickly-taken penalty by Tom Collard followed, which almost saw Morgan sneak in on the left wing, but after three five-metre scrums No8 Brewer scored to put his side into an 8-6 lead, Collard hooking the kick at goal.
The visitors went ahead when a crossing offence by Ilkley resulted in Storey’s third and final penalty goal, which gave his side a slender lead of one point.
Ilkley fought back immed- iately via Elliot Morgan, whose field and run resulted in a scrum for Ilkley in the Doncaster 22.
The visitors defended well, but had no answer to player-coach Steve Grahams’s bullocking run soon after The hooker was unlucky not to score himself, but from the ruck on the line, Collard’s long pass out to Craig Barker resulted in the centre scoring a try in the corner.
At 13-9, this signalled the end to the scoring, Collard missing for a second time.
The last, scoreless 20 minutes of the game were not without incident.
Both captains were called together apparently to help reduce the amount of chat going on, then Brewer was yellow-carded for illegal use of the foot at a ruck.
Ilkley however buckled down and held out for the remaining 15 minutes.
With Brewer back on for the last five, a final penalty award to Doncaster gained a line-out 40metres out from the Ilkley line, but a knock-on signalled the end of the game.
Ilkley should be delighted with this result. Dominated by the visiting pack for most of the first half, the home side had a marvellous second half and the commitment cannot be faulted.
Graham’s influence was there to be seen. Not only did he have a fine game but the lighter Ilkley pack eventually held its own, which surely must be down to his coaching skills.
The Ilkley backs were dominant and Elliot Morgan – son of coach Rhys – had a scintillating debut.
With the cricketers hto return and incoming Kiwi Chad Harris, yet to feature, the Stack’s Field faithful can look forward with optimism.
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