Ilkley 15, Wirral 16

WIRRAL continued their winning league run of six out of six in 2019 with a narrow away win at seventh-placed Ilkley.

It was Wirral who started the stronger and after pressure in the home side 20m area, a move developed on the training field enabled the away side to score through Matt Loon after good work by Craig Harvey. This try was converted by James Annetts.

The lead was increased to 0-10 with a penalty from Annetts on 10 minutes.

Wirral continued in attacking mode and Wirral's hopes were raised when James Annetts crossed over the whitewash, with tacklers present, only for the referee to deem that he was held up over the line.

The home side then came more into the game but the Wirral defence was able to keep the home side attackers at bay, however in this period Wirral suffered two injuries, with Jack Yarker and Matt Dalton having to leave the field thus limiting any substitute options later in the game.

In the last play of the first-half combined forward play from Ilkley resulted in Pat Power crossing in the corner for the home side, the conversion was missed, leaving the score 5-10 at half time.

The second half gave Ilkley the benefit of the slight wind and in the 50th minute, Wirral extended their lead to 5-13 with a James Annetts penalty, but Ilkley responded in kind with a penalty from Charles Ramsey.

A further penalty extended Wirral's lead to 8-16 after 67 minutes.

A further injury to a Wirral forward, Haydn Long, reduced the efficiency of the forwards.

Ilkley played with greater urgency in the final 15 minutes and were applying pressure to the Wirral team who were putting in numerous tackles to stem the home side and one missed tackle enabled Joe Lowes to score close to the posts which was duly converted by Charles Ramsay to leave the match on a knife edge at 15-16.

Wirral defended strongly in the final eight minutes and welcomed the final whistle when Ilkley lost the ball when on the attack.

The injuries occurred in the last two matches have depleted the Wirral forwards squad and thus Coach, Darren Wood is pleased to come through these games with two wins.

Next week is the re–arranged cup game against Birkenhead Park at Clatterbridge where there will obviously be a number of changes to the team.