ALTHOUGH head of rugby Rhys Morgan concedes that they never got out of the blocks in their 37-14 defeat at Sandal, he reckons there were mitigating circumstances for last Saturday's North Premier setback, which dropped them from third to sixth.

Morgan said: "We were within one metre of their line in the first half and they pulled the maul down and the referee gave us a penalty.

"But if he gives us a penalty, then to my mind a penalty try and a yellow card has to follow.

"Then we had a two-on-one and the ball was deliberately slapped down, and the referee gave a knock-on against us, but that also has to be a yellow card and a penalty try.

"They also got a try from a forward pass, and we blew a try when Ben Magee tried to kick the ball on when, nine times out of ten, he would have caught the pass and scored.

"That is three massive occasions where we feel we have been wronged, plus Ben's mistake, and these things change matches, but having said that we never really got out of the blocks and it was similar to the performance against Morley.

"However, we are on 18 points, and I would have taken that every day of the week at this stage."

Also injuries to No 8 JH Johnson (slight ligament tear) and Charles Morgan (concussion) didn't help, and Morgan added: "JH has been very influential for us, and we are hoping that he is only out for two to three weeks."

He also praised props Billy Nicholls – on loan from Leeds Academy – and Swedish international Henrik Ek, calling them ones for the future as they stood in for Josh Cochrane and Ollie Holtham.

On Saturday, Ilkley make the short trip to old National League Three North foes Cleckheaton for a first-round Yorkshire Cup derby.

Morgan said: "They will be up for it, and obviously we will be missing one or two players, but we will be sending as strong a side as possible as we need to get back on track before we face Pocklington away in the league on Saturday, October 21."