RHYS Morgan has hit back at critics claiming Ilkley threw the towel in after an 11th-hour postponement of a cup clash.

Ilkley were forced to call off their Yorkshire Cup quarter-final at Harrogate less than 24 hours before the tie was due to be played as five of their backs were injured, ill or unavailable.

Head of rugby Morgan insisted he tried his best to get the game to go ahead, including two fruitless attempts to get player in, but he was forced to call off the game.

Now the Stacks Field side face a formidable task on Saturday as they travel to Hull, who are 19 points clear of second-placed Billingham in the North Premier.

Eighth-placed Ilkley were last in action on February 16 when they fell to a 16-15 home defeat against Wirral.

Ilkley will be boosted by the returns of Elliot Morgan, Charles Ramsey and Andrew Dixon for the weekend clash, but JH Johnson will miss out as he completes the concussion recovery protocol.

Morgan said: "We have got a bit of criticism for calling the cup game off. I did not just throw the towel in. I definitely tried to get a team together. We just had to call it.

"I really don't care what people say, what is more important is looking after my players.

"It has never happened before and I was disappointed that we had to call it off. Our backline was totally decimated. We are not bursting at the seams with players this week. We have eight backs available this week and that's it.

"We tried to get a loan player from Otley for the game but he was unavailable. We tried to get a guy from Leeds Uni, but we couldn't get him registered in time. It was chaos really.

"People said that it was embarrassing that we called off the game so late, but what would have been more embarrassing would have been to field a team of 17-year-olds, lose 90-0 with three or four of them getting injured.

"We did the right thing. We would have been struggling if we had picked up a couple of injuries. The league has to be the priority. It has given us a chance for the Hull game."

Morgan says his side face a formidable task on Humberside against the runaway leaders.

He added: "We have a tough game away at Hull.

"They are a semi-professional club who are going up this year. We will give them a good match.

"You've got to look at Hull and see how well they are doing and see that it is a really tough one. It is a good one to get on with us and I think we have enough to give them trouble.

"We need to give their lad on the left wing quiet. It was a good game against them at our place earlier this season."