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Ilkley cruises to emphatic win
Ilkley 55 Pontefract 7
Ilkley showed no mercy for struggling Pontefract as they finally clicked into top gear and produced some stunning rugby, running in eight tries and happily, kicking six goals in a 55-7 victory.
Stacks Field was looking at its Autumn best but that was no consolation for a Pontefract side that has now used 42 players in eight matches this year and is finding the going tough.
The well-lunched spectators were treated to the sight of a completely dominant home pack destroy their opposition.
Steve Burns and Stuart Brewer had their best games of the season so far and they were ably assisted by the rest of the scrum, with Pete Small masterful at the line-out and the front row of Tom Baxter, Steve Graham and John Cooksey all making significant contri- butions.
The afternoon was spoiled somewhat by two red cards, one against each side, with only a couple of minutes to go.
First, Pontefract’s Andy Tilley was dismissed for punching Tom Collard and this was followed a minute later by Ilkley centre Alastair Monks seeing red for illegal use of the boot at a ruck.
From the kick-off, the visitors started brightly enough, with Ilkley conceding two penalties in the first minute, but then the Ilkley pack took over, winning a penalty that was easily converted by Josh Kimber for a 3-0 lead.
Then after a break by the talented stand-off, Steve Burns set up the ruck that saw J-H Johnson slide over for the first of his brace of tries.
The score of 8-0 advanced to 15-0 when Small’s line-out take set up a scoring position for Brewer, whose try was beautifully converted by Kimber.
Pontefract’s solitary foray into the Ilkley 22 came to nothing as the home pack stole a Pontefract line-out and Ryan Cooper’s clearance kick made 60 metres. Pontefract then stayed offside and Kimber made it 18-0.
Straight back onto the offensive, a chip through by Kimber was hacked on by Steve Nolson and Monks won the race to touch down close enough for Kimber to increase the lead.
Pontefract were really struggling to get any possession at all at this stage and after a break from the scrum by Brewer, only a forward pass from Cooper to Johnson prevented another Ilkley score.
The Dalesmen were not to be denied though and a great rolling maul ended with Tom Baxter’s score and a half-time lead of 30-0.
The second half started much as the first ended with Ilkley well on top. Another penalty advanced the score to 33 and then from the kick-off, a so-called funny-one, Johnson fielded the ball and set off on attack, feeding Cooper.
The scrum-half passed on to Kimber and then Paul Petchey took over, sprinting the final 50 metres. Being 38 points up led to a ten-minute period of lethargy by Ilkley. After replacements Tom Collard and Gus Ramsey entered the fray, a moment’s lapse of concen- tration allowed feisty centre Andy Tilley in for the visitors’ try which was converted by Andy Dean.
This was Pontefract’s best spell of the match, but it was not to last.
From a scrum 40 metres out, Collard broke blind and fed Kimber. He linked with Petchey who set up a try for Burns, who deserved all the applause he got from the happy crowd.
This was followed immediately by Johnson’s second try when the winger brushed aside two feeble attempts to tackle him and this gave Ilkley a 50-7 lead. There was just time for one more try. Petchey again ran in from halfway after Burns had broken out from defence.
Skipper Stuart Vincent then made an outstanding catch of a steepling Ponte- fract clearance kick at full speed, but his pass inside to the support was adjudged forward. Then came the cards and the final whistle.
This was an outstanding display by Ilkley, though it must be said that the opposition was poor and York away on Saturday will be a much sterner test. Still, it seems that the side has settled down well and is able to produce some stunning rugby.
But for three final forward passes, the score could have been higher. Stand off Kimber has made a great start and as his kicking confidence grows, Ilkley’s all-round game will improve.