ILKLEY'S head of rugby Rhys Morgan is confident that his team have secured their status in National League Three North for another season.

With four matches left, the Dalesmen are 17 points ahead of third-from-bottom Doncaster Phoenix, who they despatched 43-5 at Stacks Field last Saturday.

Morgan said: "I know mathematically that we are not safe but one of our matches is at Stockport (played 22, lost 22, points one), and we feel that we can get a win there.

"Doncaster Phoenix targeted their match against us as they had beaten us in the Yorkshire Cup (26-24 at Doncaster in August) and we had only scraped a win there in the league (29-22 in November).

"But when you are battling against relegation and you go 7-0 down within two minutes then alarm bells start ringing.

"J-H Johnson threw a beautiful pass from the base of a scrum, Ben Magee does what he does best, Lewis Johnston put J-H over, and Joe Rowntree added the conversion."

Ilkley were 22-5 up by half-time but a key period was the opening ten minutes of the second half.

Morgan explained: "We had been getting on the wrong side of the referee, particularly in the ruck area, and had given away lots of penalties, so we decided not to contest the rucks, not give away penalties and give them the chance to kick for the corner but just defend, defend, defend.

"We drive them back 40 metres and, as it happened, when we did then contest the ruck we gave away a penalty, which cost us that 40 metres, but they didn't score."

Ilkley regained the ascendancy in the final 20 minutes, adding tries by replacement Joe Lowes (2) and Charles Morgan to add to those first-half tries by Johnson, Morgan and Ben Magee.

"It was nice for Joe to come on and get a brace," said Morgan senior.

Ilkley finished last season – their first at tier five – with 70 points in seventh place.

Even with four bonus-point wins, eighth-placed Ilkley can only reach 68 this season, but Morgan added: "The division is getting tougher, and don't forget that we had nine new players at the start of the season and two playing in different positions, and they take time to bed in."