AFTER last week’s disappointing draw away at Heath, Ilkley had something to prove and in what turned out be a distinctly one-sided affair, prove something they did, with an emphatic victory against old derby rivals, Bradford and Bingley.

The Dalesmen ran in twelve tries and converted eight of them to finish winners by 76-0. That is not however the whole story, as an astonishingly young Bees side worked their hearts out and deservedly enjoyed a considerable amount of time in the Ilkley half.

Possession though is only half the story - it’s what you do with it that counts - and the Bees simply could not break down a resolute Ilkley defence, which must be immensely proud of ensuring that their line was never crossed.

Despite the result, Ilkley remain second below Brods, who have a superior win record, but surely, the Dalesmen must feel confident for their run up to Christmas, starting with an away fixture with ‘Mucky Morley’.

Ilkley were able to withstand everything that the Bees could throw at them in the first ten minutes, when the home side hardly had a sniff of the ball, but when J-H Johnson stripped a ball from an opponent’s hands in his own half, that was it.

The first try followed after some impressive interplay and who should pop up to cross the whitewash for the first time, but the man himself. Chuckie Ramsey added the extras and the sizeable crowd was looking for more.

More came soon afterwards as Bees lost possession in the tackle to allow scrum-half Jack Maplesden to touch down. Ramsey’s kick was wide.

Ilkley ramped up the pressure and when the Bees’ defence pulled an attacking player back, following a chip through, cub referee Mr Ounsley awarded a penalty try.

That made it 21-0.

Bees then enjoyed some time in the Ilkley half of the field and pressured the hosts into giving away penalties, one of which led to Ollie Holtham being yellow-carded.

Ilkley managed to break out twice from their own 22 in this period, but these counter-attacks yielded no points and it was only when Holtham returned that the Dalesmen got their reward for their enterprising play.

A well-won scrum allowed Will Addyman to crash over for the bonus-point try and that was swiftly followed by Steve Costello powering over after some great work by Luke Gamble. Neither try was converted, but as Mr Ounsley blew for half-time, Ilkley were 31 points up.

Ominously for the Bees, Ilkley scored straight from the kick off, Gamble taking the ball cleanly, making the hard yards and eventually, fed by Kodie Brook, Maplesden darted over for his second. Ramsey added the extras and Ilkley hit cruise control.

Two long passes found Kristen Dobson in space for the next try and then Benny King added his name to the scoresheet after more classy work from Ramsay.

Three tries and two conversions in ten minutes and the Dalesmen hit 50.

More was to come though and Ilkley’s strength in depth allowed Jack Liebster and and Adam Hopkins to make an appearance. The young Bees side looked shattered and could do little to stop a great team try, Harry Boyd touching down after a mesmerising build up.

The winger didn’t take long to add his second, thanks to some superlative footwork from a seemingly unstoppable Dobson and the score ratcheted up to 62-0 with Ramsay’s goal.

Hooker Charlie Head saw yellow for what seemed an innocuous challenge.

There was enough tome left for Ilkley to add two more converted tries. With the Bees defence in disarray, Johnson selflessly fed Hopkins for his first try for the Club and following a straight red for Bees’ Joe Daly ( violent conduct ) Boyd finished off another fine move for his hat-trick leaving Ramsay the task of ending the scoring with the conversion.

So, a ruthless display from Ilkley and a gutsy performance from the Bees, a Club that clearly is rebuilding. That run up to Christmas sees the Dalesmen now playing sides in the lower half of the league, but Coaches Morgan and Clithero will no doubt ensure there will not be any complacency based on that fact.

Ilkley may be equal top of North One East eight games in, but Rhys Morgan certainly isn’t thinking of silverware come late April.

Morgan, head of rugby at Stacks Field, says that his team’s firm objective is to finish in the top four, thereby securing promotion to a revamped North Premier division next season.

After Ilkley’s 76-0 home derby victory over Bradford & Bingley on Saturday, Morgan confessed: “I am really, really happy with our position. A few people have tried to put words in our mouths that we have set out to win the league.

“We have not stated ‘we are going to do it’. We would love to do it but our objective is to stay in the top four so that with the league re-arrangements we would go up.”

Morgan has even stated that he is glad that his side are not five points clear, but instead are equal on 33 points with leaders Old Brodleians, with Driffield third on 31 and Heath fourth on 30.

He said: “We are reaching our objective at the moment. It has been a little bit frustrating at times as we feel that a few games have slipped away, such as the previous week at Heath (31-31 draw), but the fact that we are not five points clear it has asked more questions of us.

“This will stand us in good stead going forward so we can learn as a young team that we don’t get things all our own way, and maybe those lessons are going to be good lessons when we come unstuck.

“We are taking nothing for granted. We did think that we would come away with a win at Heath with the people that we have beaten and the people that they have beaten and so we are under no illusions as we know they lost to Cleck on Saturday, who are a good team.

“If we can try and open a bit of a gap between us and fifth place then that is our first objective, and after Christmas we have a tough one at Brods.

“We try and win every week, and if we don’t then we try and win the week after and see where we end up at Christmas time.”

Morgan added: “We have made steady progress through lockdown. We have brought new lads in and we are learning.

“We beat Consett (82-0 on the first day of the season) and felt that we could roll over every team but every week we are picking up another tool from the toolbox, spinning another plate and learning valuable lessons that in the event that if we do get into the top four and go up, we will be a bit more ready for it than last time when we got relegated.”

Ilkley scored 12 tries, including a penalty try against the Bees, who had lock Corey Spencer dismissed four minutes from time for off-the-ball use of an arm.

Other tries came from winger Harry Boyd (3 in the second-half), scrum half Jack Maplesden (2), full back JH Johnson, No 8 Will Addyman, lock Stephen Costello, centres Ben King and Kristian Dobson and replacement Adam Hopkins, with fly half Charlie Ramsay adding seven conversions.