ILKLEY RFC did not enjoy being beside the seaside on Saturday, as they slid to a 32-20 defeat at Scarborough in North One East.

A bone-numbing wind served to cool the ardour of all those who were brave enough to leave the warmth of the home club’s sumptuous facilities and witness the highly entertaining game of rugby that played out before them.

As so often happens when a match is rearranged, as this was, players have made long-term alternative arrangements and so it was that there were no fewer than eight changes from the 18 Ilkley names that had appeared on the team-sheet to play Driffield the week before.

Consequently, there were a couple of unfamiliar names in the Ilkley line-up to ponder, to accompany a couple returning from injury and a couple from the second XV, so with this disruption, it came as no surprise that a certain fluidity was lacking, at least for the first quarter of the game.

So it came to pass that the Dalesmen’s great run of victories came to an end, as despite equalling Scarborough’s four-try tally and gaining a bonus point for doing so, the difference was the goal-kicking.

Scarborough veteran Tom Ratcliffe came good with two penalties and three conversions - those 12 points being the margin of his side’s 32-20 victory.

Playing with the wind mostly at their backs, Scarborough looked red-hot from the off, playing a short, off-loading game which for a while, Ilkley had no answer to.

Ratcliffe kicked his first penalty after five minutes and the unrelenting pressure kept Ilkley penned in their own half.

Ilkley’s first foray into opposition territory came after some neat work on the left wing, a tantalising cameo of what might come later, but referee Andy Baker decided that the Ilkley backs had gone offside at the ruck and Ratcliffe cleared.

Another penalty for the home side took them to Ilkley’s 22 and then good hands saw centre Joe Marshall touch down out wide. The conversion attempt was missed, but Ilkley were now 8-0 down.

Errors in the Scarborough 22 led to Ilkley losing first possession and then ground which the home pack gleefully took full advantage of.

No.8 Dylan Robinson collected a pass from prop Sam Dawson to notch his side’s second try, which this time was converted for a 15-0 lead.

Ilkley have been here before though and fought back when Josh Hall was tap-tackled into touch close to the goal line.

Scarborough tapped back, but the pass to Ratcliffe went over his head, giving Ilkley the scrum.

The visitors made the most of the error as scrum-half Jack Maplesden skipped through the defence to score, but Chuckie Ramsay’s kick bounced back off the post.

Ilkley were straight back on the attack on the right wing, when Hall hacked at a loose ball and gathered it.

A desperate defence hauled him down, but the winger popped the ball up and it was moved quickly left, where Pat Power didn’t need the overlap to score to make it 15-10.

With the wind at its worst, both sides were forced into errors, but Ilkley’s last in injury time led to a penalty, duly converted by Ratcliffe, making it 18-10 at half-time.

What any side doesn’t need early in the second half is another score against them, but unfortunately, when a clearance kick was fielded by Scarborough’s Robinson in his own half, the No.8 made a full 50 metres before off-loading to the supporting Dawson.

He crashed over wide on the right wing and Ratcliffe’s subsequent conversion was the kick of the day.

Ilkley knew they had to score next and cranked up the pressure accordingly.

Despite falling foul of Mr Baker’s whistle on another couple of occasions, the Ilkley pack buckled down and took one against the head.

The ball reached Harry Harrison, who went over to bring the score to 25-15.

The visitors now enjoyed their best period of the game. Harrison picked up a loose ball and broke out of defence and looked likely to score before a tap-tackle brought him down.

The next move was halted by a forward pass and then the next attack on the right was spoiled by a knock on.

However, the clearance kick from the scrum was charged down, forcing Scarborough to drop out.

Back came Ilkley to win another lineout on the left and from the resulting maul, Cam Roberts danced over for the bonus point try.

At 25-20 and looking looking much sharper now, Ilkley looked good for two points at least, but the match wasn’t quite over yet.

With the crowd anxious to retire to the warmth of the bar and with both sides making mistakes, Ilkley conceded a penalty which was kicked to the five-metre line.

The first couple of Scarborough phases were well-defended, but eventually lock Luke Brown burrowed his way over to noisy acclaim, as Ilkley’s losing bonus point was transformed into a four-try one for Scarborough.

Ratcliffe’s conversion was a formality and although Mr Baker did add on three minutes of injury time, Ilkley just couldn’t break through and the match ended with no further score.

The Dalesmen now have a week to lick their wounds and prepare for yet another tough match against third-placed Heath at Stack’s Field on Saturday.

Back in the autumn, away in Halifax, Ilkley’s 32-12 lead slowly evaporated and the match ended in a draw.

The point earned at Scarborough sees Ilkley slip down to second place on equal points behind Driffield by the slimmest of margins - Driffield’s two draws ranking higher than Ilkley’s superior points difference.