Saturday 17th September - Paviors (Nottingham) vs Ilkley RFC - Paviors 15 pts, Ilkley 21 pts
Match report by John Hope
After a stop start journey to the edge of Sherwood Forest, the rather late arrival seemed to cast a shadow over Ilkley’s participation in this encounter. The pleasant woodland setting, lovely Autumn weather and traditional warm welcome for this first ever match between the two clubs did nothing to raise the standards of two fairly evenly matched teams. The pitch too didn’t help. It was rock hard and lacking in grass cover.
Certainly the home side had the edge in size and weight in the pack but Andrew Clithero’s men are used to dealing with these situations and actually did so with reasonable aplomb. Number 8 Jack Leibster was outstanding in dealing with difficult ball at the back of an under pressure scrum. The lineout too was dominated by two six foot plus Paviors who hardly lost a line of their own throughout. Unusually, Ilkley’s lineout were unsettled on several occasions, a couple of which were well within scoring range.
The contest itself was a scrappy affair punctuated by poor handling and a propensity by both sides to concede penalties. This was compounded by referee Mr Callum George insisting on applying the law meticulously. Neither side seemed able to cope with the discipline required by Mr George. The game rarely flowed more than a couple of phases.
Ilkley scored first with a superb break by Kristan Dobson who was finally stopped short of the line. Skipper Joe Lowes picked up and burst over for a try under the sticks. JH Johnson obliged with the conversion. 7-0.
Paviors’ response was strong and eventually effective. Twice Ilkley’s tactics in defending the lineout close to their try line frustrated them when a score looked certain. Neither had they reckoned with the indomitable Dalesmen defence.
However on the stroke of half time the defence was finally breached and Paviors had the try. A relatively straightforward kick went wide. 7-5. Half time.
The Morgan/Clithero team talk would be crucial to settling their charges to the tough task ahead. Play to your strengths would be the watchword.
They were quickly into their stride.
Lowes initiated a great move which supplied Dobson coming in on an unstoppable trademark line to score under the posts. 14-5.
Ilkley supporters inadvisably started thinking bonus points. Paviors thought differently. With Johnson taking up the fly half roll after Matty Sheard was forced off with a knock the Dalesmen were on bonus point hunt.
A long loping pass was intercepted by Paviors young winger who was set fair for the ILKLEY line. Across came Harry Harrison who stopped the young speedster with a hanging arm. Double jeopardy. A penalty try and a yellow card. 14-12.
Alex Graham for Leibster and Jack Popely in the front row forced a pack reorganisation. With 14 men ILKLEY won a penalty but Johnson’s boot was off colour and a tense final ten minutes was relieved when Kodie Brook broke clear only to be felled a couple of metres short. He popped up a perfect pass to Popely to score under the posts. Johnson obliged. 21-12.
It was more of the same with Paviors pressing and Ilkley’s tigerish defence holding firm. With Harrison back ILKLEY took play towards the woods and drew another penalty off a lineout. The chance was squandered.
The final couple of minutes saw yellow cards issued to Ilkley’s Ham and Paviors’ James. Paviors only salvation now was to earn a bonus point. A penalty would do it. Ilkley were defending. They used guile and some mild deception to earn a free kick for an early shove. Ilkley don’t do safety when a bonus point is on offer and they made a bold attempt to play their way up field. It came to nought when the seemingly inevitable penalty for holding on gifted Paviors their losing bonus point. Final score 21-15. 4 league points earned. A good trip home was assured!
Unfortunately the 2nd XV match was cancelled after opponents Harrogate were unable to fill a full scrum.
The mighty Centurions maintained their winning streak with a close and intense battle with Yarnbury coming out 19-14 in front.
Next week the 1st XV take on Sandal, who are still without a win this season, on Saturday 24th September with kick off at 3pm.