Ilkley 28 Pocklington 22

ILKLEY returned to winning ways in a North Premier League match played in conditions more suited to a Tough Mudder.

Pocklington were up the battle and had the loyal Ilkley supporters’ hearts in their mouths both early on and late in this absorbing and tense contest.

In truth it bore little resemblance to the modern high speed athletic game we are now becoming used to.

For the most part it was an old-style attritional mud wrestle but, credit to both sides, Ilkley in particular, they did put together some sublime rugby too.

Those magic moments led to the four Ilkley tries which were all converted by Charles Morgan.

Ilkley got off to a flying start and were soon 14-0 up. The first came from a deft kick from scrum half Jack Maplesden which was taken out of the air by Tom Milner to win a line-out and set up several phases close in.

When the ball was moved wide it was Milner who took the final pass and swivelled out of a tackle to score.

Straight away the Dalesmen roared back and doubled their lead. Prop Ollie Holtham was credited with the try after a well-worked drive from a line-out.

Just as the Ilkley faithful were beginning to relax, Pock hit back when they charged down a Ben Magee clearance for James Flint to score a try.

Then, as hands got colder and kit muddier, it was an Ilkley knock-on that gave Pock a scrum on half way.

For the first time the Ilkley scrum came under pressure, but it was from a well-constructed line-out drive that the visitors scored their second unconverted try.

Half-time saw the Dalesmen head for the warmth of their changing room while the East Yorkshiremen stayed out in the mud.

Relief came early in the second period for Ilkley after several phases were well defended.

A great break by Jack Maplesden after a line-out saw Pat Atkinson send skipper Elliot Morgan racing in for a try as the lead stretched to 21-10.

As the mud and cold took its toll, the attritional arm wrestle became ever-more intense.

It was a mud induced mistake that had Ilkley hearts fluttering again. A Pock penalty on the Ilkley 10 metre line was miss hit towards Atkinson who knocked on.

With hooker Harry Wales having to leave the action the re-organised Ilkley pack came under pressure and successive drives led to Pock scoring a converted try.

At 21-17 it was well and truly game on.

Pock then slipped up with a kick straight out. Ilkley punished them with the mercurial Maplesden making an opening for Magee to score the bonus point try.

The Dalesmen were called on to dig deep as Pock went looking for bonus points. They built up a final head of steam and were rewarded with a fourth-try worth two points to them.

Pock, whose only previous win was against Ilkley, sensed an upset.

Ilkley clung on for the final two minutes to make it a winning start for debut-making second row Pete Erskine who breathed new life into the set piece with the returning Pat Power, but the man of the match was the dependable JH Johnson.