As previewed on Friday, the featured game this weekend was at Ilkley. Despite forecasts of rain which did arrive in other parts of the country, this part of Yorkshire remained dry, bright and warm almost throughout. The clouds arrived only towards the end of a game which gave victory to the home side after several frights from opponents Firwood Waterloo.
Although it's well over a year and two seasons since ickledot last saw Ilkley play, they are still at their most effective going forward; running with the ball. This makes the game most exciting to watch but can on occasions leave gaps at the back. Firwood Waterloo had strengths in the pack and showed themselves to be effective in the counter attack. All of this made for a thrilling, high scoring game which was not entirely safe for Ilkley until the closing minutes.
Opening skirmishes over, it was Ilkley moving into attack, some good possession inside Firwood's 22 resulting in a penalty that was missed. Shortly after, there's Ilkley's Ed Brown, ball in hand, filling ickledot's viewfinder and nobody else to be seen. Weird!
A moment of realisation and he burst over the line for the first score.
Following Ilkley's conversion the visitors promptly went down to the other end of the field and scored no less than two tries, moving into the lead. However, this didn't last for too long as both Elliot Morgan and Ben Magee scored tries to make the half-time score 19-17.
Photographically it was becoming quite a satisfactory afternoon as almost all of Ilkley's scores were near to ickledot! And so the pattern continued through the second half; Ilkley scoring several tries but Firwood maintaining their threat with scores of their own.
Ilkley's scores included one which featured a fine run from Dion Hendricks. The final score of 38-29 perhaps looks a little more comfortable than it was but Ilkley undoubtedly deserved their win.
Favourite shot of the day was this burst forward from Angus Ramsay - very aggressive! Shows how pictures cannot always tell the whole truth - the referee was just about to whistle for a knock-on. That will all be soon forgotten though! You can see more match pictures over on Flickr. At the time of writing a match report hasn't yet appeared on Ilkley's website but it will be far more detailed than this one when it does. Many thanks to all at Ilkley for a great welcome and a fantastic afternoon's rugby.