A wonderful weekend of rugby to look back on. It's coming back to you in two instalments as the excitement was thick and fast and you just couldn't take it all in one go. First up on Saturday was a local encounter, Our Friends On The Wharfe you might say (not really as Harrogate's north of the Wharfe but it's a line too good to miss). Just 17 miles apart, Harrogate and Ilkley have had contrasting seasons but, as all such local affairs, the stakes for this match stood apart and in addition to the league campaign.
You'll be getting a bit fed up of me going on about former Yorkshire U20s on this and that team. Today there were almost too many to list. It was great to see them anyway.
Last week's snow and gale force winds were forgotten as the sun made an appearance and the skies brightened. It was still chilly but pleasant enough and most welcome following the previous months' conditions.
Reading Ilkley's match report, it's a relief to note the writer sees the game pretty much as I did (and I'm by no means an expert). Ultimately Harrogate's superiority in the forwards was able to quell Ilkley's open running style. The home side went ahead with a try in the early stages of the first half, adding a second to establish a good lead before half time. However, a determined run for a converted try to Ilkley and a break time score of 12-7 made for the prospect of a far more interesting second forty. (Here's Harrogate's report, for balance!)
An Ilkley penalty brought the scores even closer before Harrogate eased home supporters' nerves with a couple of tries. However, Ilkley refused to give up, adding a further try, giving a closing score of 26-15. It was an exciting game played in heavy conditions and both sides should be congratulated.
Photographing conditions were better than previous weeks though the clouds did come over to darken the scene as the game began. You can see more pictures here - if you've already visited it might be worth a return as a few more will be added with this post. Thanks very much to those who've bought a download or two. Much appreciated!