Ilkley vs Harrogate
By Peter Kitching
The match started in poor weather conditions which steadily worsened throughout.
In spite of this, both sides produced an entertaining game of rugby with the result in doubt until the final whistle. Understandably, handling mistakes abounded but Harrogate’s set piece superiority was the key difference between the sides. In better handling conditions, the Harrogate backs would almost certainly have made better use of the plethora of ball won by the pack.
Harrogate opened the scoring after the ball was spread left. Winger, Andrew Lawson committed the defender and deftly offloaded to Luke Riddell who touched down in the corner. Their second try followed quickly after Jonny Coser drove over from a driving maul. Cail Cookland’s touchline conversion made it 0-12 but Ilkley quickly responded. They gained possession from a Harrogate knock-on and delivered a scoring pass to winger, Struan Connor to make it 5-12 after quarter of an hour’s play.
Ilkley’s defence then held out well against a prolonged period of Harrogate pressure until prop, Charley Purkiss-McEndoo broke through from an attacking line out and Jonny Coser was in support for his second try. This made it 5-17 and ended the first half scoring.
The rain became still heavier in the second half but it failed to dampen Ilkley’s spirits. They secured more possession after the interval, particularly after Harrogate yellow cards gave them numerical advantage. A converted try put them within 5 points of Harrogate. This was quickly followed by another try but the conversion attempt went wide and made the score 17-17. Restored to their full complement, Harrogate exerted further pressure and Jonny Coser’s hat trick try gained a bonus point. The conversion made the final score 17-24
Ilkley: Atkinson, Johnson, E Morgan, Brown, Connor, Ramsay, B Morgan, Holtman, Wales, Nicholls, Erskine, Pearson, Power, Lowes, McKay. Subs:- Lawrence, Burns, Dixon
Harrogate: Rosillo, Barnard, Riddell, Fox, Lawson, Vookland, Matthews, Purkiss-McEndoo, Maycock, Ward, Brady, Millington, Watts, G Coser, J Coser. Subs:- Yorke, Harris, Dodds
Referee: Elliott Lewis (Northern)
Match report by Bill Barrack