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Dalesmen produce tasty home performance
Ilkley 37 Wath 24
It is a good few years since Ilkley hosted Wath at Stacks Field and the home crowd were hoping for a reverse of last week’s disappoint-ments in Huddersfield when a 29-10 lead was squandered.
Wath in the other hand had dished out a 50-6 mauling to Heath, so they arrived full of hope and expectation.
Both teams had witnessed each other’s Twickenham defeats in early May, so the stage was set for what turned out to be a cracking match.
Ilkley had made two changes, JH Johnson coming in at centre, with skipper Stuart Vincent reverting to his more comfortable full-back position in place of Sam Boot and Mike Cachia replacing Phil Howell on the bench.
In the final analysis, Ilkley’s improved discipline, perfectly countered by Wath’s lack of it, saw the home side emerge comfortable victors.
In perfect conditions, Ilkley looked far more composed and despite Tom Collard’s dip in kicking form, the home side always looked to be the likely winners after his 12th minute penalty was stroked over to give the home side a lead they never lost.
Shortly afterwards, Alastair Monks retired after a hard knock and new-boy Cachia took the field.
Within two minutes, his class told, as a lovely move by the Ilkley backs and a sleight of hand by the new ten put Ilkley further ahead, though the conversion was missed.
A lapse of concentration then allowed visiting inside centre Shane Brown to romp in under the posts for a try duly converted by Tom Quinn.
Then the home side profited by Wath’s indiscipline.
With the referee playing advantage to the visitors, the situation was reversed when Wath mouthed back at referee Rob Staines, and had their lock Simon Lines carded for the offence.
Ilkley immediately took advantage and a trademark catch and drive put prop Ben Fear over for a great try.
Though the conversion was missed, Ilkley led 16-7 at half-time.
Into the second half, an early Quinn penalty reduced the arrears to 16-10, but then a sweet Ilkley move broke down and a penalty was conceded in the Wath 22.
The resulting line-out was stolen by Ilkley and with a popped pass to rampaging lock Steve Burns, Ilkley’s tally improved to 21, immediately added to by Cachia’s conversion.
Wath then failed to improve their chances when lock Richard Hill was carded for voicing his opinion.
From the resultant penalty, another catch and drive forced Iain Mackenzie over, the try ably converted by Cachia to give Ilkley an unassailable lead, 30-10.
However, having shipped 21 points in 15 minutes the week before, the home side still had their nervous moments.
With 12 minutes to go, it came as no surprise when influential Wath skipper Matthew Burrows gave his side some slim hope of a bonus point by going in under the posts, Quinn adding the extras.
To their credit and in direct contrast to the week before, Ilkley responded with vigour and immediately took the game back to Wath.
This resulted in a well-deserved try for winger Mark Kirkby after a delightful floated pass found the winger unmarked.
His try was converted by Cachia.
With the crowd sweltering under Ilkley’s last throes of summer and with a general repairing to the bar, most people missed Wath’s last try, as inside-centre Shane Brown waltzed over unopposed for his second try of the day.
So – a good result for a resolute Ilkley side, still smarting from their defeat the week before.
Cachia at stan-off is an obvious class-act, both as a play-maker and goal-kicker.
With Vincent back at full-back, Ilkley now look more balanced and as the new side settles down, the Stacks Field faithful can look forward to a decent season.
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