Acklam 3 Ilkley 92

Promotion-chasing Ilkley gave their points difference a massive boost as they ran up their record league score against their rock-bottom Yorkshire One opponents.

Alastair Monks had the most comfortable of returns with a four-try haul and he was ably assisted with another hat-trick from Stu Brewer and a brace from centre Steve Nolson.

This was very much a team effort though and after a bit of a stuttering first half, littered with unforced errors, the half-time talk did the trick. Ilkley were simply unplayable in the second half.

The Ilkley faithful had enjoyed the hospitality of this most friendly of clubs and it is a wonder that there is still so much spirit alive in this Yorkshire outpost.

Having been shoe-horned into Yorkshire One at the end of last season against their best wishes, Acklam have lost all their matches and have only three bonus points to show for their efforts.

llkley crossed the home line five times before half-time, courtesy of Brewer (2), Josh Kimber, J-H Johnson and Pete Small. Kimber converted four of the five tries.

Acklam showed some spirit and both skipper Ryan Kirkbride at No. 8 and massive lock, Roger Wood did cause the Ilkley defence some problems.

They even had the temerity to win a line-out and allow stand-off Lee Phoenix to drop a sublime goal that left the sparse crowd gasping in disbelief.

Ilkley knew they should have been much further ahead than 33-3 at half-time and their second-half performance was a real step-up in quality.

Acklam were on the back foot throughout and even when they did get into the Ilkley half, mostly via penalties, they were repulsed.

Indeed, two of their most promising moves broke down with knocks-on and both were punished by breakaway tries by the visitors.

Nolson got the first of his two in broken play, converted by Tom Collard, who was on for Kimber and from then it was one-way traffic.

Ilkley added a further eight tries via Monks (four) Brewer, Charlie Davy and Paul Petchey. Collard kicked six conversions in all.

Australian Nick Carolan had a useful debut in the back-row and the 18-man squad all played well.

This was a real team effort and it was a pleasure to hear the home supporters praise the quality of Ilkley’s play.

With Doncaster Phoenix losing at home to Scarborough and Selby and Wath also suffering defeats, it would seem that Yorkshire One is now a two-horse race, with Ilkley now having a game in hand and a superior points difference to leaders Dinnington.

Was this trip up the A1 something we should get used to? Well, Ilkley are certainly heading in the right direction as they bid to win promotion to North East One.