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Pacy Petchey shines as Ilkley coast to victory over seasiders
Ilkley 31 Scarborough 17
Two bursts of pace from winger Paul Petchey were the highlights for Ilkley as they romped home against mid-table Scarborough at Stacks Field on Saturday.
The home side, coming off the back of a three-week break and a run of one win in six, needed a victory to regain momentum for their promotion push, and wasted no time in going about that challenge with a darting Tom Collard try in only the third minute.
The scrum half dusted himself down to convert it himself, and in the blink of an eye, Ilkley were 7-0 up.
Fragile defence was the theme for both sides during the opening stages.
Indeed, Ilkley, sporting a makeshift back line and missing fly-half Mike Cachia, missed a series of tackles as the cobwebs proved difficult to shake off.
A Tom Ratcliffe penalty for Scarborough was followed up by a classic Ilkley score, Iain Mckenzie orchestrating the rolling maul brilliantly to rumble over for his 16th try of the season.
Gradually the two sides began to settle into the fixture, and by the half-hour mark the free-flowing nature of the open exchanges was a fond but distant memory.
Kicking and mauling took precedence, Scarborough unable to penetrate the stoic Ilkley defence despite considerable time in their territory.
And then, with his first meaningful touch of the ball, Paul Petchey sparked into life.
The spritely winger, making his first appearance of the season for the Dalesmen, finished off a smart phase of play from the Ilkley backs with a classy try right on the stroke of half-time.
A tough conversion opportunity was squandered, and at the break the home side lead 17-3.
If the East Yorkshire outfit had been starved of opportunities in the first half, they couldn’t complain early in the second when a converted try by powerful winger Graeme Jeffrey got the better of Ilkley soon after the restart.
Ilkley coach Rhys Morgan rang the changes, sending on experience in the form of Nick Brook and Ben Fear, and it proved an inspired move as his side regained the ascendancy in the pack.
After Ollie Renton was held up over the line, another display of silky back play welcomed captain Stuart Vincent back into the try-scoring fold.
What followed though was pure magic. Scarborough full-back Corey Dennis, quiet for much of the game, escaped the clutches of three Ilkley defenders before slipping scorer Phil Stewart a perfectly-weighted pass. At 24-17 with 20 minutes left, Ilkley were wobbling.
There were scares, particularly whenever the ball reached Dennis, but the promotion-chasers seemed determined to close out the match unscathed.
Petchey scored his second after a smart interception, and the simple conversion for Craig Barker confirmed the wheels are back on the Ilkley promotion drive as they head for Old Brods on Saturday.