A SECOND half onslaught succumbed Ilkley to another heavy defeat against Blackburn in the North Premier as they were beaten 52-7 at Stacks Field.

The Dalesmen, who suffered a crushing 64-7 defeat in the reverse fixture, went into half time only five points behind, however the visitors found their form after the break scoring another 40 points.

Rhys Morgan’s already wafer thin squad due to the amount of injuries were missing the likes of first team players; Chuckie Ramsay, Joe Lowes, Ollie Holtam, Dan Lawrence, Ed King and Barney Vaughan.

Therefore, it is proving to be a tough old learning curve for this mainly young and inexperienced side in coming up against generally bigger, physically stronger and mostly more experienced opposition.

The one thing that this Ilkley side does not lack is heart, they gave everything and more for the full 80 minutes but this was ultimately to no avail as they still sit 10 points adrift at the foot of the league table.

Blackburn opened up the scoring with lock Corey Logan bundling over the line before they added a second try wide out gaining a dozen point lead after 15 minutes.

The hosts responded with a sustained effort on the Blackburn line which gave prop Nathan Hyde the chance to score his first try for the club.

Ilkley seemed the more likely team to add to their tally before the break and many thought they had when Blake Morgan crossed the line but the referee pulled it back for the ball being played out of a tackle.

It was all change at the beginning of the second period though as the away side immediately extended their advantage when fast winger Josh Reilly powered over for a try.

Ilkley hardly touched the ball again as Blackburn went into another gear putting themselves pretty much out of sight with their bonus point score. 7-22.

The home side’s injury problems were exacerbated as Sam Rowntree, their most prolific ball carrier, and leading try scorer Harry Harrison, both had to come off.

Ilkley then lost hooker Nat Robinson and Joe Paton out of the front row necessitating uncontested scrums and consequently playing with 14 men.

These setbacks gave young Archie Elgood another chance to show his undoubted talent a scrum half.

In between the sixth-placed team scoring a further 30 points, Ilkley did threaten with a couple decent forays, particularly with Morgan.

However it can’t be escaped that Blackburn, enjoying their first ever campaign in the lofty heights of North Premier, the fifth tier of English rugby, have scored 118 points to Ilkley’s 14 in their two encounters this season.

Morgan has a major task, probably the biggest he has faced during his tenure at Stacks Field, to lift his side to face the remaining 10 challenges to come.

A week off will give his battered and bruised squad chance to recover for the must-win trip up to Alnwick, the first of their only two victories this season, on February 1.

For the remainder of the season Ilkley must regroup, giving every ounce of energy to secure those elusive wins to save them from the drop.