THERE was a certain irony that all of Otley's points in their 29-0 pre-season friendly victory over Ilkley last Saturday at Cross Green came from former Ilkley players.

Tries for the National League Two North hosts were scored by Stephen Nolson (2), Paul Petchey, Ben Magee and Joe Rowntree, with the latter also adding two conversions.

However, rather than being miffed by this turn of events, Ilkley's head coach Rhys Morgan revealed: "I take it as a compliment that it took our former players scoring to beat us, and their spectators noted that.

"A lot of Otley's first-teamers came on at half-time when the score was 10-0, but we had turned down four easy kicks at goal, and they were in front of the posts, so we could have been winning 12-10 at the interval and only trailing 17-15 near the end.

"But what would that have proved and would we learnt anything about ourselves?

"Would we have learnt about our scrum or our varieties in the line-out etc?"

Neither was Morgan too worried that Otley ran in some long-range tries, explaining: "We had people playing out of position and Otley rotated their squad whereas we had players who had been in the pitch for 60-65 minutes.

"Also had it not been a friendly, Otley could have received two yellow cards - one for slowing the ball down and one for preventing a try from five metres out - but if we had lost 27-15 we would have done ourselves proud."

Ilkley are likely to be stronger for their North Premier league opener on Saturday at home to Kendal, but one player they will be without is flanker Joe Lowes.

Morgan said: "He has a cracked jaw and is likely to be out for six weeks."

Also missing are cricketers Ed Brown and Ricky Palacio, but back in the fold come players such as Struan Connor and Tom Milner, as well as signings such as flanker Callum Manchester from Bradford Salem.

Ilkley wrapped up last season with a 34-14 victory at Kendal but Morgan is under no illusions as to how difficult this season will be as they have been shorn of some of their better players and are still looking to strengthen in the backs.

He said: "We will just have to take it game by game and see where we are at Christmas, but we are expecting our pack to carry more of our weight this season rather than our backs."