As some previous recent weekends, the two days of this particular one couldn't have been more different in terms of the weather. Sunday was wall to wall sunshine, cold but very bright throughout. More of that in a future post. On Saturday though, driving past the famous Cow & Calf rocks overlooking Ilkley, the scene was shrouded under a single grey cloud which stretched across the sky. ickledot's second visit of the season to Ilkley Rugby Club was hopefully going to bring rugby brighter than the conditions.
The day's visitors were Stockport, currently having something of a nightmare season, rooted to the bottom of the league without a single win to their name. ickledot spoke to several Ilkley members before the game and each professed nervousness about their team's prospects. Lying mid-table, a number of places above the Stockport, Ilkley really ought to win, they said. However, in the past this hadn't always happened and there'd been a tendency to lower standards to the perceived level of their opponents.
From Ilkley's point of view it was one of those games in which an early score was needed to allay such fears and ease the nerves. Doesn't always happen and the tension rises. In this case though the score came as Ilkley's Rob Rekis burst onto a pass and over the line within a couple of minutes (it seemed) of the start. Longer readers of this blog will remember Rob as the high scoring member of the Yorkshire U20 squad which won the County Championship at Twickenham a couple of seasons ago.
It was a score which gave the home side confidence and Stockport the beginnings of a fear that it was going to be a long hard afternoon. And so it proved to be. Ilkley scored steadily throughout the game, amassing more than seventy points without reply. Another member of that successful Yorkshire squad was Ben Magee. He had a fine game, scoring several tries of his own and also assisting in others. The shot above, of him and Rob Rekis combining for a second half score, was quite interesting from a photographic point of view. At times it was so dark that ickledot lowered the shutter speed for slower phases of play such as scrums or lineouts. Trouble was, he didn't always remember to increase it again when the ball was in open play and this shot was a case in point. Just about got way with it though as there's enough sharpness in the important parts. The blurring's quite pleasing actually as it gives a suggestion of speed.
Pat Power was another player given special mention in Ilkley's official match report. He scored a hat trick of tries including this one where he ended up right in front of ickledot.
It was a dispiriting afternoon for Stockport and at times their frustrations boiled over. However, it was great to see this bit of sporting behaviour. Having had yet another try scored against his team, this Stockport player was still more than willing to give a bit of anti-cramp First Aid to the scorer. Hopefully things are going to improve for them as the season progresses. Ilkley are at home again next week to Morley. They'll want their current form to continue and they won't end up wishing they'd saved some of those seventy points! You can see more pictures from the game over on Flickr.
Next post: Yorkshire's girls!