Kimber takes Ilkley to top of table as hat-trick of tries sinks Dinnington

Ilkley Gazette: Ilkley scrum half Ryan Cooper in action Picture: ruggerpix.com Ilkley scrum half Ryan Cooper in action Picture: ruggerpix.com

Ilkley 29 Dinnington 27

Stand-off Josh Kimber scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked the crucial late penalty which earned Ilkley victory and took them to the top of the table on points difference.

Dinnington showed why they have emerged as genuine promotion contenders with their ferocious attacking play.

They tore into the hosts from the start and knocked them off their stride, but Lady Luck was smiling on Ilkley.

Two dreadful passes from Dinnington’s hapless scrum-half Alex Donnelly were intercepted by Ilkley’s star man Kimber, who outpaced the cover defence twice to score under the posts. His successful conversion kicks gave the hosts a scarcely credible 14-point advantage.

Then it was Dinnington's turn, as their own man of the match, Jonny West slotted a penalty, followed uncomfort ably quickly by a try after two missed Ilkley tackles, gave him the freedom of Stacks Field to touch down. West landed the conversion to make it 14-10 at half-time.

The second half continued as the first left off, with Dinnington working their socks off to get ahead, but as the ball squirted out from a Dinnington scrum, Stu Brewer claimed the loose ball on the ground.

From the resulting ruck, Kimber was fed with enough space for his hat-trick try in the corner. Kimber’s magnificent conversion put Ilkley 21-10 ahead, but it certainly wasn’t a case of game over.

The South Yorkshire visitors were straight back at Ilkley and when young Ilkley right wing Harry Downing was caught in two minds fielding a kick through, Dinnington took advantage.

They won the resultant line-out and the ensuing maul and Jonny West, now moved to scrum-half, powered though a gap for his second try which reduced the lead to four points.

Then it was Ilkley’s turn to bounce back, surging upfield and winning a kickable penalty 30m out, which was unfortunately pulled left of the posts by Kimber. Ilkley’s fans wondered if it would prove costly.

Within five minutes, this seemed to be the case as Dinnington countered and took the lead for the first time. South African full-back Neceedo Pietersen took a long floated pass out wide on the right and flopped over.

West missed the conversion but his side led 22-21. The ding-dong continued as a trade-mark catch and drive from a line-out won in the Dinnington 22 gave Iain McKenzie his first score since returning from injury. The conversion was from the same place as the missed penalty and the kick was a carbon copy.

It was hardly surprising that play swung back to the Ilkley end of the pitch and when a penalty was awarded, West’s quick take proved profitable as number 8 Will Marshall crashed over to put his side 27-26 ahead.

West was off target with the conversion. With ten minutes to go the next score was going to prove crucial. After no fewer than 15 phases of an Ilkley attack, Dinnington’s discipline deserted them 30m out and Kimber was given the chance to win the match.

The roars from his colleagues on the pitch as the ball sailed towards the uprights told the crowd all it wanted to know and a 29-27 win was sealed. It took Kimber's personal tally to 24 points.

Despite Dinnington being marginally the better side, this was a magnificent Ilkley performance. Their scrum had the edge, but flu-victim Pete Small was missed in the line-out. Dinnington recycled the ball better and both sides tackled their hearts out. Ilkley’s passing in the backs was more accurate, but Dinnington’s power forward play in the loose was stronger.

So Ilkley move to the top of Yorkshire One on points difference from Wath. It’s a fine place to be but tough tests at North Ribblesdale on Saturday and Wath at home loom before Christmas.

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