ILKLEY'S head of rugby Rhys Morgan reckons that the bad weather has come at the wrong time for his team.

Home victories over Pocklington and Lymm preceded their postponement almost a fortnight ago against Wirral, due to a waterlogged pitch at Stacks Field on a day when everyone else in the North Premier played.

"Every time that we seem to get a roll on, the weather intervenes," said Morgan.

"If we had beaten Wirral it would have pushed us up the table.

"We are ninth at the moment with games in hand.

"At the start of the season we targeted a top-six place, and we certainly aren't resting on our laurels.

"We are looking to pick off the team above us, which is Kendal (two points ahead having played two more games), and hoping to finish the season as strongly as possible."

Snow and ice, rather than waterlogging, is the main problem as Ilkley ready themselves for Saturday's match on an artificial pitch at runaway leaders Preston Grasshoppers.

"I am not sure that you can brush snow off an artificial pitch, but we are preparing ourselves for the match going ahead – we have been training indoors at Westville House School – and letting nothing distract us," revealed Morgan.

"We had a good turn-out of 25 at training on Tuesday, while four more were receiving treatment."

Ilkley lost 29-24 in the home fixture in November, but it could easily have resulted in Hoppers' second defeat of the season.

Morgan remembered: "We were two scores ahead with about eight or nine minutes to go, but they pulled out a result.

"That is the thing about playing against a good team – they never know when they are beaten.

"However, the good thing about knowing that we didn't have a game last weekend was that I was able to give the lads the weekend off – which is a rare thing these days.

"We said to them 'Take your partners out on the Friday night and enjoy yourselves' but the great thing about our first-team squad was that a lot of them were still down at the club on Sunday morning coaching the juniors."

The only injury worry for Ilkley this weekend is lock Pete Erskine.

This may give an opportunity to Woodhouse Grove School's Matt Burke, who was signed last week, to play in the second row – either starting or off the bench.