Ilkley 27, Wirral 41

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

James Annetts opened the scoring in the second minute with a superb 50m run down the touchline to score in the corner and the score was doubled to 0-10, seven minutes later when Ali Baker was in receipt of a long pass to score in the other corner, none of the tries were converted.

Ilkley came back with two penalties through Joe Rowntree.

At this stage the Wirral forwards were dominating the game, stealing line outs and pushing the opposition pack backwards thus giving the backs plenty of ball, who threatened to score on each occasion.

In the period leading up to half time two more tries were scored when Captain, Craig Harvey dummied his way over the whitewash and this was followed by another impressive run from 40m by James Annetts.

The latter giving Wirral that all-important try bonus point before half-time and a lead of 6-22.

Immediately after half-time with Wirral looking to run the ball out of defence and for the second week running an interception pass allowed Ilkley back into the game with Josh Kimber scoring and Rowntree adding the conversion.

Despite playing against the wind Wirral then dominated putting Ilkley under heavy and sustained pressure with first Sam Broadbent crashing through the defence and the game was made safe on 59 minutes when Craig Harvey put his brother Dan in for a try and this being converted by James Annetts pushed Wirral's lead out to 13-34.

Wirral's final try commenced some 60m out with Craig Harvey running down the wing and surprisingly not tackled into touch almost reached the Ilkley try line before passing on to Ali Baker who had the easy task of touching down and James Annetts converting thus extending the Wirral lead to 13-41 with six minutes to go.

In those final minutes Wirral relaxed knowing the five points were secured but allowed Ilkley to score two converted tries through Nico Nyemba and Elliot Morgan to leave the final score 27-41, the score line which rather flattered Ilkley.

This result leaves Wirral 13 points ahead of third placed Sheffield and therefore need eight more points (two wins) from their four remaining games to be sure of the runner-up place.

Next week Wirral are away to Cleckheaton.