Champions Ilkley have retained coaches Rhys Morgan and Steve Graham

Rhys Morgan is delighted to stay

Rhys Morgan is delighted to stay

First published in Sport Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Weeklies Sports Editor

Newly-crowned Yorkshire Division One champ-ions Ilkley have moved quickly to secure the services of the men who masterminded their triumph.

Head of rugby Rhys Morgan and his assistant Steve Graham have agreed to lead the team into North East One next season.

The title triumph was confirmed on Saturday when Ilkley romped to a 49-7 win over York to pip Dinnington by one point.

Their second team, playing on the next pitch at Stacks Field, made it a double celebration by winning the Yorkshire Merit Table Central Division championship.

Ilkley rugby chairman Tom Gillon said: “It was a great day for the club. It’s the first time we have ever won the Yorkshire One title and for the second team to win their league on the same day, was special.

“The credit for the success has to go to all the hard work our coaches Rhys Morgan and Steve Graham have put in with the players.

“That is why it was important for us to speak to them as soon as possible to get them in place for next season.

“There is a lot of planning that needs to be done for playing in North East One next season and having Rhys and Steve on board is central to that.”

Gillon added: “It has been a gruelling season and the work isn’t over yet.

“The second team have a promotion play-off match at home to Scunthorpe on Saturday and the first team still have the Yorkshire Shield final to play against Scarborough at York on May 4.

“If we are successful in those matches it will crown an absolutely amazing season for the club.

“Everybody has played their part. The coaches and the players have all been magnificent. We have also had great support off the field. The big test now is to build on our achievements.

“In the coming days and weeks we will be talking to all our players and looking at our playing resources for next season.”

Morgan, who is looking forward to the challenge of taking his team into a higher league, admitted that he is still coming to terms with their title triumph.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said. “I think that is because the season isn’t over. We are still preparing the second team for their play-off game and we also have to get ready for the Yorkshire Shield final.

“Perhaps when we have played those games and the season is truly over, I will come to terms with what we have achieved.

“This has been a tough and competitive league this season, but we have risen to the challenge. It speaks volumes of the players that we were unbeaten in our last 19 league games, winning 17 of them.

“I know that they are all very tired but we just need one more big effort now in the Shield final to round things off.

“Winning the league and the Yorkshire Shield were our twin objectives when we set out and now we are in sight of realising those dreams.”

l Match report – Page 43

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