Alnwick run in half century over bottom of table Ilkley

ALNWICK RFC 53ILKLEY 0Since meeting in October when Ilkley won 23-7, the early season has been somewhat inauspicious for both sides. Ilkley, currently bottom of the table on 11 points, have not won away all season and have only one other win to their credit.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 7:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 8:52 am
Action from Alnwick v Ilkley on Saturday. Picture by Steve Miller.
Action from Alnwick v Ilkley on Saturday. Picture by Steve Miller.

Alnwick, although disrupted by injury and availability issues, had fared marginally better with 27 points but had not managed an away win until two weeks ago at Morpeth.

Both sides came into this match seeking vital points to ease relegation worries. Performances on the day suggest that Ilkley will need considerable improvement to avoid the drop whereas Alnwick looked reinvigorated and more confident following recent wins over Blaydon and Morpeth.

From the kick-off, Ilkley forwards tried unsuccessfully to batter a way through, but the Alnwick pack were quick to demonstrate their superiority when Ilkley were penalised at the first scrum. Thereafter, Alnwick’s forward dominance in all areas was never relinquished and set up the platform for the backs to use an ample supply of ball to excellent effect.

Ilkley soon found themselves the cosh, and although a Callum Burn penalty attempt drifted wide the pressure was unrelenting. Consistently efficient work at the breakdown coupled with deft handling from the Alnwick backs made the first try which set the pattern for the rest of the match.

As an Alnwick attack broke down inside Ilkley’s half, rapid recycling sent the ball through five pairs of hands to the supporting Clayton. Although tackled, he got the ball inside to Cuthbert who drove through defenders to mark his welcome return from injury with the try and Burn converting for 7 – 0 inside 15 minutes.

Thereafter Alnwick kept Ilkley well under the thumb and tries arrived at fairly regular intervals. The first of these came on 23 minutes, again from quick recycling at the breakdown when winger Addison’s speed took him almost to the line before offloading in the tackle for Cuthbert to score for 12 – 0.

Ilkley’s re-start was returned with interest with a storming 30 metre breakaway by Ben Gothorp, and when subsequently Ilkley struggled on their put-in

Continued on page 60.