Ilkley look to turn the tables on their bogey side North Ribblesdale

Ilkley Gazette: Head of rugby Rhys Morgan Picture: ruggerpix.com Head of rugby Rhys Morgan Picture: ruggerpix.com

Table-topping Ilkley face one of their trickiest away games as the Yorkshire Division One season reaches its midway point on Saturday.

The Dalesmen travel to Grove Park to face a North Ribblesdale side that has held an Indian sign over them in recent years.

The Settle-based club have won the last four encounters between the sides and head of rugby Rhys Morgan believes it is time for that run to end.

Ilkley took over the league leadership on points difference after their nail-biting 29-27 win over Dinnington and Morgan has set his men the target of staying their until the Christmas break.

He said: “We know what to expect from North Ribblesdale. They are strong side and it is a tough place to go and win. I want us to continue the momentum we have built up in recent weeks through this game and next Saturday’s home match with Wath.

“After that the players can enjoy a breather. Until then we have to keep our focus.

“It is time we ended our poor run against North Ribblesdale so it is important we approach the game in the right frame of mind.

“We have to make sure that we take advantage of the chances that come our way because North Ribblesdale are usually very good at keeping the ball once they have got hold of it.”

Ilkley will be boosted by the return to fitness of second row Pete Small. His presence should strengthen their presence at the line-out where North Ribblesdale are traditionally strong.

One of the most pleasing features of Ilkley’s rise to the top has been the emergence of their young half backs Ryan Cooper and Josh Kimber.

“They have combined well and are benefiting from the confidence that is gained from a settled run in the side.

“I have been delighted with their performances and I have also been thrilled by the way that players like Jon Cooksey, Tom Baxter, Steve Nolson, JH Johnson and Paul Petchey have all come up from the second team to make their mark in the senior side,” said Morgan.

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