Ilkley.........27 Wirral........41

IN Blustery but dry conditions, Wirral took advantage of the wind in the first half to set up a winning lead of 22-6 to secure the try bonus point.

James Annetts opened the scoring in the second minute with a superb 50m run down the right touchline to score in the corner.

Seven minutes later, Wirral's lead was doubled to 10-0 when Ali Baker received a long pass to score in the opposite corner, neither try was converted.

Ilkley came back with two penalties through Joe Rowntree but, at this stage, Wirral’s forwards were dominating the game, stealing lineouts and pushing the opposition pack backwards to provide the backs plenty possession.

In the period leading up to half-time two more tries were scored when captain Craig Harvey dummied his way over the whitewash and another impressive 40 metre run by James Annetts.

At the second half kick-off, Wirral caught and were looking to run the ball out of defence – but an intercepted pass allowed Ilkley back into the game with centre, Josh Kimber, scoring.

Rowntree added the conversion.

Despite playing against the wind, Wirral continued to dominate, putting Ilkley under pressure.

Sam Broadbent crashed through the defence to score and the game was made safe on 59 minutes when Craig Harvey put his brother Dan in for a try.

James Annetts converted one try to extend Wirral's lead to 34-13.

Wirral's final try commenced some 60 metres out with Craig Harvey running down the left wing to be held up just short of Ilkley's line.

Craig got a pass away to Ali Baker who had the easy task of touching down; James Annetts added the extra points to make it 41-13 with six minutes to go.

In the final minutes Wirral relaxed and allowed Ilkley to score two converted tries through Nico Nyemba and Elliot Morgan to leave the final score 27-41. This result leaves Wirral 13 points ahead of third-placed Sheffield.

They need eight points (two wins) from their four remaining games to be sure of the runner-up place.