SCUNTHORPE 34 ILKLEY 32
Scunthorpe thoroughly deserved this well-earned win over the men from the dales Ilkley. It looked like they might just concede a draw but lady luck went their way for once. The versatile, subsequent man of the match, Will Harrison started at his old position of scrum half and Jack Murr made a very impressive home debut.
It was Ilkley that scored the first of 66 game points against the run of play. Kane Linklater secured the ball at ruck but not in a legal manner according to the match official. Charles Morgan kindly accepted the invitation to kick three points. Two minutes later Tom Foster kicked a penalty to the corner and from the catch and drive line out Ilkley recovered the ball and cleared their lines. The ever-improving Lewis Talbot returned the kick with interest, he fed James Dyson who in turn slipped a pass to Josh Lugsden. The fullback sprinted through, returned the pass to Dyson who ran in from 40 metres to score an excellent try. Will Robinson converted, 7-3. Scunthorpe were looking in imperious form as their scrum really pressurized Ilkley, conceding another penalty. Foster put the ball in exactly the right place for the finish. This time Scunthorpe retained possession and after no way through they spun it wide and a beautifully timed pass from Jack Murr put Lewis Talbot in at the corner, 12-3. Lewis was then denied his second try from a similar move from the same provider, but this time Jack Murr’s pass was deemed forward. Scunthorpe’s joint top try scorer Ben Hyde was next on the scoresheet. Another penalty saw old faithful Bridlington come up trumps again with the in form No8 crashing over, Robinson converted, and it was now 19-3. Scunthorpe needed one more try for the bonus and there were only 20 minutes on the clock. Ilkley stemmed the tide somewhat with another Morgan penalty and then spent several minutes inside the home side 22. Tim Robinson’s charges defended valiantly but eventually Ilkley kept their cool and skipper Joe Lowes scored the try, Morgan converted and at half time it was 19-13.
The first half of rugby was some of the best we have seen all season and there were at least two further opportunities that went begging. Tom Foster had his kicking boots on, especially from re-starts. Lewis Talbot was in the air collecting the ball much to the chagrin of the opposition. From the ensuing attack an Ilkley player was penalized for a deliberate knock-on and Will Robinson kicked the three points. From the Ilkley kick off Scunthorpe were determined to get that bonus point try. It went, deservedly so, to wingman Jack Murr. A quick tap penalty saw the young academy star receive the ball and dive over, 27-13. Then came a period of quite dull play with both sides making mistakes and with still 30 minutes of play left the Greens could not afford to rest on their laurels. Ilkley were the first to break the impasse through their impressive centre who crashed through the usually solid defence to score a converted try, 27-20. The Greens needed another score to keep the gap wide enough to seal the win. This they did through the experienced 2nd row Nick Dyson. It was the extremely well-oiled line out that provided the opportunity for Dyson to rumble over, Robinson converted 34-20, surely Scunthorpe could ride out the final 20 minutes – but Ilkley had other ideas. With 10 minutes to go Ilkley scored again. This time from a scrum penalty. An unusual decision to replace 2nd row and talisman Grant Elliot on their own 5m line resulted in the West Yorkshire pack shunting Scunthorpe up and the referee had no choice but to give the penalty. It was now 34-27 and we were in squeaky bum time! To be fair Scunthorpe had played some magnificent rugby and with one or two niggly injuries to key players were hanging on by the skin of their teeth. The referee seemed to be playing far too much overtime. When Ilkley scored a try in the corner it looked like their impressive kicker Morgan was going to repeat his earlier feat of slotting the ball over from touch to clinch the draw. However, it wasn’t to be and the ball drifted past the left hand post to the audible relief of all the home supporters. Scunthorpe deserved the win and fair play to Ilkley, they were no mugs and made the Greens work for every point. The other results saw Scunthorpe move up in the league by one place replacing fellow strugglers Sandal. Next week’s game is a rearranged fixture with Blaydon when the Scunthorpe supporters will be looking for another 80 minutes of scintillating rugby and hopefully another win.