Even some timely advice from England forwards coach Graham Rowntree failed to halt Ilkley’s recent slide.

He visited Stacks Field last Thursday and led a training session two days before they surrendered their unbeaten home record while suffering a 32-26 defeat against North Ribblesdale – their third successive loss.

Now coach Rhys Morgan is hoping his men can sign off before the Christmas break with a win at Wath-upon-Dearne on Saturday.

Like the Dalesmen they are looking for a lift after being thrashed 74-7 by Yorkshire One leaders Driffield last Saturday.

Morgan said: “It was really good having Graham Rowntree come down last week.

“Our club president David Jones arranged it and it was really good listening to his advice.

“I am hoping that this week, with more of our regulars back in action, we can put it into practice.”

He added: “We played too much of last week’s game in our own half. Our tackling and defensive organisation was poor.

“Those are areas we have to improve on because I am sure Wath will be looking to hit back after being beaten so heavily last week.”

Stand off Mike Cachia is expected to be available for selection along with Tulie Makaafi, Mark Kirkby and Ryan Duckett who all missed the North Ribblesdale game.”

l Rugby union – Pages 48-49