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Nap hand of derby tries pushes Ilkley into top half of table
Buy this photo » Flying flanker Scott Dyson tackles Ilkley centre Steve Nolson
Ilkley 27, Keighley 6
After the debacle at Wath the previous week, Ilkley were obviously keen to make a mark against local rivals Keighley, who came to Stacks Field without a win in their first two SSE Yorkshire Division One fixtures, both at home.
In the end, it was the home side who prevailed with a 27-6 victory that might have been more.
Five tries to none is an impressive result in this difficult league, and the win moves Ilkley up into the top half of the table.
Both kickers had a distinctly below-average day but in the end, the various missed conversions and penalties mattered little, Ilkley thoroughly deserving their first bonus-point win.
Ilkley’s first try came after a great Craig Barker show and break, with scrum half Tom Collard eventually crashing over for a try after good supporting work from the pack, the No 9 missing the conversion.
Ilkley’s backs then strayed offside to give visiting full back Alex Brown his first attempt at goal, duly conver-ted to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
Veteran prop Paul ‘Slim’ Sinfield then impressed with a delicate chip ahead that caused the Ilkley defence no little problem, conceding a penalty that Brown stroked wide.
A couple of knock-ons by Ilkley prevented the hosts from confirming their grow-ing superiority with points, but eventually pressure told and, following a superb penalty kick to touch from Collard, Stu Brewer scored from the resulting line to take the score to 10-3, the conversion again going wide.
A rare strike against the head for Ilkley, following a typical Ilkley maul, preceded more forward pressure and, from an ensuing scrum, Collard threw out a long pass to J-H Johnson, who juggled his way over wide on the right, Collard then missing his third attempt at goal.
The rest of the half saw Brown cutting the deficit to 15-6 at half-time after an infringement at a ruck gave him an easy pot at goal.
The second half was a scrappy affair, with Ilkley’s lock Steve Burns seeing yellow ten minutes in.
However, Keighley were unable to capitalise in his absence and, despite an occasional robust foray into the Ilkley half, remained largely toothless.
An easy penalty attempt by Brown hit a post, and even after Collard knocked on the rebound, the visitors were again repelled by stout defence.
Then came the coup de grace as Ilkley’s centre Steve Nolson picked up a loose ball in his own half and found himself with a clear 60-metre run to the line.
Needing no second bidding, a jog under the posts, gave Collard an easy kick at goal, giving the home side a 22-6 lead and a bonus point.
More importantly, Keighley heads dropped and this signalled the end of the contest.
There remained time for another well-struck penalty by Collard into the Keighley 22 to lead to an Iain Mackenzie try from a trademark Ilkley rolling maul, and that was the end of the scoring.
To their credit, Keighley did their best to take something from the game, but to no avail and the distinctly scrappy last ten minutes yielded nothing for either side.
Beating perennial local rivals by five tries to none is no mean achievement, and when Ilkley’s talented backs finally really do get it together, the Stacks Field faithful should be royally entertained.
Heath away is never an easy fixture, but Ilkley can travel to the Calder Vale side’s new facilities in good heart after this win and, as the side settles down, their first away win must be the next target to aim for for the Dalesmen.
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