Ilkley's table toppers are warned that the hard work has to be carried on

Ilkley Gazette: The Ilkley fist team squad. Picture: ruggerpix.com The Ilkley fist team squad. Picture: ruggerpix.com

Ilkley’s chairman of rugby Tom Gillon has warned his table-topping side that the job is only half done.

The Stacks Field club have set themselves the target of winning Yorkshire Division One and the Yorkshire Shield this season and Gillon is anxious they don’t ease up.

Gillon said: “It has taken a lot of hard work to get us where we are, but we have to remember there is a lot more hard graft to be done.

“Yorkshire Division One is an extremely competitive league and if you rest on your laurels you get punished for it.

“I am delighted with the way things have gone so far this season, but in the new year we have to start again.”

Much of the credit for the way Ilkley have performed this season is rightly directed at the coaching team of Rhys Morgan and Steve Graham.

Former Wharfedale hooker Graham has proved a huge asset since joining the club this season as forwards coach.

Gillon said: “It has been great to have Steve’s input both on and off the field.

“He is able to analyse the game from a forwards perspective and that is a great help to Rhys Morgan who can focus more on the backs.

“The two of them have struck up a good working relationship and are using tools such as video more and more to analyse our performances.

“We are only an amateur club, something we are proud of, but we like to be professional in the way we go about preparing for matches.”

One of the things that has pleased Gillon most this season has been the emergence of some of the club’s younger players.

Half backs Ryan Cooper and Josh Kimber have repaid the selectors for the faith they have shown in them while Andy Malley and Will Coates are both knocking on the first-team door.

Gillon said: “There is a good feel about the place and the players are responding superbly.

“Numbers at training are extremely good and everybody seems determined to do well.

“The success of the second team has enabled experienced players like Pete Shanks and Phil Howell to blend with the youngsters coming up.

“We have had a great first half of the season, but it will count for nothing if we don’t maintain our work ethic in our remaining games.”

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