Lymm 54

Ilkley 18

THE few Ilkley supporters who had made the trek to leafy Cheshire were treated to a more than decent first-half display by their team, which saw them storm into a 10-point lead before Lymm woke up and hit back with two converted tries.

Ilkley responded with two penalties and were behind by just one point at half-time, but the second half was a different story, with Lymm running in a further six tries to Ilkley’s one.

J-H Johnson and Harry Swarbrick returned to the side after concussions and Ollie Holtham and Tom Dickinson joined them to bolster the pack.

There couldn’t have been a better start for Ilkley as Lymm’s kick-off was well fielded by Blake Morgan, whose first of many fine breaks took his side straight into the Lymm half.

Ilkley worked the phases well and with referee Mr Henry signalling a penalty to the visitors, advantage was played and a lovely popped pass to Luke Pearson saw the lock crash over under the posts. Ed Brown’s kick made it 7-0 with just two minutes played.

The next ten minutes also belonged to Ilkley, with Lymm making unforced errors and Ilkley holding their own in the first scrum.

A Lymm clearance kick was beautifully fielded by full-back Kodie Brook and the ball was moved back into the Lymm half. Ilkley were awarded another penalty at the breakdown, five metres from half-way and skipper Joe Lowes opted for a kick at goal from Johnson. Johnson’s accuracy, aided by a strong wind, made it 10-0.

This clearly was not going to plan for Lymm, but up they woke and started to pile the pressure on.

Some poor tackling from the visitors didn’t help matters and flanker James Hadland crossed just beside the posts. Cormac Nolan’s kick narrowed the gap to three points.

Johnson saw his second penalty attempt from a similar distance drift wide and then was penalised for holding on during Ilkley’s next attack.

Lymm’s second try came from a line-out 10 metres from the Ilkley goal line and Aaron Rasheed took full advantage as Ilkley appeared to stop playing, possibly waiting for a refereeing decision that never came. Nolan’s conversion made it 14-10.

With Morgan playing out of his skin, aided by some big kicks from Callum Smithson, Ilkley stormed back and eventually were rewarded with a penalty 25 metres from Lymm’s line, duly slotted by Brown to make it 14-13 as the whistle ended the half.

Then that second half. Ilkley failed to deal with the kick-off, allowing the ball to bounce straight up in the air.

Lymm knocked on, but then Ilkley lost possession in the tackle, Lymm countered and brushing aside a couple of attempted tackles, Hadland bagged his second, converted.

Ilkley had a lucky escape when Lymm knocked on over the line and won a scrum against the head, but the clearance kick didn’t go far and they were then penalised at the line.

A tap and go and No 8 Ollie Higginson crossed in the corner. Another fine kick by Nolan made it 28-13 and a bonus point to boot.

With the wind strengthening, Ilkley struggled to get possession and when they did, started to lose it in the tackle. Lymm skipper Adam Bray took a scoring pass when his side countered and Nolan struck again.

Ilkley again failed to deal well with their kick-off and again paid the price, Lymm running in their next try from their own half, with Nolan adding a further five points to his impressive tally, before his sixth conversion of the day.

With the game now beyond Ilkley, the side did not lie down and continued to play with great spirit.

Lymm did not have it all their own way and seemingly had no answer to Morgan’s electric speed as the scrum-half broke from his own half, ending up 20 metres from the Lymm line.

Some well-controlled rucks and mauls allowed Ilkley to get ever closer to the Lymm line and eventually, they were rewarded when Smithson’s floated pass found Swarbrick, the winger touching down in style.

Brown’s conversion attempt missed, but it seemed Ilkley were somewhat back in the game. But not for long, unfortunately. Morgan was replaced by Archie Elgood and Ilkley lost a scrum against the head.

A monster clearance by Lymm from their own 22 landed in touch just 5 metres from the Ilkley line.

Ilkley weathered this particular storm, but from the next line, a patient build-up by Lymm resulted in Hadland’s hat-trick try, the kick again dispatched by Nolan to make it 49-18.

The final try came when James Kimber ran in a training ground move, but with no conversion the match ended at 54-18.