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Ilkley coach gutted over league position
Ilkley’s head of rugby Rhys Morgan was gutted after his side had drawn 17-17 with unbeaten Scarborough but dropped from fifth to ninth in the Yorkshire One table.
“It seemed incredible that we had achieved a good result but dropped so many places in the league.
“It felt like a kick in the teeth. I was just so gutted when I saw the league table after Saturday’s results,” said Morgan.
“We have won three, drawn one and lost just one yet we are in the bottom half of the table.
“I guess it is the clearest indication so far as just how competitive this league is.
“This must be closest-fought of all divisions. Everybody has strength- ened their squad and recruited this season and it means there are no easy matches, ” he added.
Just how tight the division is can be gauged from Ilkley’s own postilion, They are ninth with 15 points and are just six behind league leaders York.
The Dalesmen will be hoping that they can strengthen their own position on Saturday when they face fourth-placed Selby at Stacks Field.
The visitors were promoted last season and have made a strong start.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Morgan. “Selby have a strong side and they are ambitious to go up again.
“It is important that we are at our best on Saturday. If we want to be successful we know we cannot afford any slip ups.
“It is a sign of how things have changed that the side we currently have would, in my opinion, have cruised to promotion three years ago.
“Now, any one of the top nine clubs is in the hunt. It is going to be about consistency of performance and selection.
“That will be particularly crucial around the Christmas and New Year period.
“Driffield showed how to do it last year. They kept training hard, had a friendly match during the festive break, and got themselves on a winning run when the league programme resumed.”
Apart from his team’s current league position, one which doesn’t truly reflect their ability, Morgan has two other important issues troubling him.
He is concerned by Ilkley’s inconsistent goal kicking and is determined to find an answer to his team’s discipline.
Morgan is planning some special coaching for his team’s three kickers Tom Collard, Craig Barker and JH Johnson.
“I think it will be a big help because missed kicks can be costly in close matches,” said Morgan.
Reducing the number of penalties his side gives away has also been identified as another priority area.
Morgan admitted: “We are consistently penalised for ruck and maul offences so we need to understand exactly what we are doing wrong.
“It doesn’t matter whether I think we are being harshly treated or not, the simple truth is that we must cut down on the penalties.
“One of my ideas is to ask a top official to take a look at our match videos and identify the things we have to correct.
“It is so important we get to the bottom of this before it really hurts us.
“It is so frustrating to get penalised when we are in attacking positions. It can have such a deflating effect on everybody.
“We have to understand what the referees want from us and then adapt to their direction accordingly. We have to work on this.”
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