Saturday 16 September 2023
As expected, this was a hard-fought local derby, though Harrogate prevailed and maintained their unbeaten start to the season. Martin Dodds, on his 100th appearance for the Club, had the honour of leading the team onto the field.
Ilkley started the game on the attack, but Harrogate was soon able to ensure play was predominantly in Ilkley’s half. However, despite exerting significant pressure, no score was forthcoming until the 18th minute when, with Ilkley down to 14 men, Tom Steene crossed and Rory Macnab converted.
Ilkley then had a period of possession, but play was largely between the 22s, before Ben Raubitschek broke down the left and was bundled into touch in Ilkley’s 22.
Just after the half hour, Pete Olley kicked into space. Orisi Katalau chased and collected the ball, following which Tom Steene cross-kicked for Raubitschek to score an unconverted try.
Not to be outdone, Ilkley’s best move of the half saw them break from their own 22, resulting in Archie Elgood scoring the try under the posts that Charles Morgan converted. This meant the half-time score was 12 – 7 in Harrogate’s favour.
In the first minute of the second half, Ilkley nearly scored again when Kristian Dobson broke in midfield. However, a knock-on prevented them scoring in the corner. Nonetheless, the deficit was reduced through a Morgan penalty shortly after.
Five minutes later, Macnab kicked a penalty of his own, and Gate stretched the lead further when their pressure resulted in a Will Hill try, converted by Macnab.
Ilkley responded and Dobson broke through to score. With Morgan converting, Harrogate’s lead was only 5 points with approximately a quarter of the game left.
Having missed one cross-field kick, in the 66th minute, Steene executed a pinpoint accurate kick that Orisi caught, beat his winger and run in for the bonus point try. Unfortunately, the conversion was missed.
Ilkley then fought hard to get into bonus point territory. However, a missed drop goal and strong Harrogate defence meant no further scores, enabling Gate to run out victorious.
Next week’s game, Saturday 23 September, is away at Alnwick, kick off is 3pm.
Ilkley: Dobson, Smith, Brook, Wilyman, Marlow, Morgan (c), Elgood, Ham, Head, Slator, Erskine, Powell, Liebster, Gamble, Booth. Replacements: Sigsworth, Dickinson, Van Oekel.
Harrogate: Macnab, Katalau, Miller, Kaisia, Raubitschek, Steene, Olley, Percival, Maycock, Vaughan, Pritchard, Brady (c), Dodds, Phipps, Hill. Replacements: Richmond, Haydock, Richardson.
Referee: Tom Hurdley (Yorkshire Society)
18 September 2023