Pock claim last-gasp point victory

Pock 1st v Ilkley
Pock 1st v Ilkley

Yorkshire One

Pocklington.....................................................................11

Ilkley...............................................................................10

Youth eventually overcame experience at Pocklington, where the home side came from behind to edge a one-point victory against Ilkley in Yorkshire One, thanks to a stoppage time penalty.

With Yara sponsored Pocklington missing a couple of regular backs, they fielded a particularly young team that included six teenagers, against an Ilkley side that had a nucleus of old heads with Premiership, Championship and National League experience.

With the wind in the first half, Pocklington had the early pressure as Joe Holbrough drilled the ball into the corners and, after the home pack had taken a fifth minute scrum against the head, Nick Bennett got them on the board with a big penalty from 40 yards.

Pocklington again had problems with the restart, but Ilkley missed a penalty chance to equalise, and the home side were soon back on the offensive. But they incurred the referee’s wrath all afternoon - the penalty count was three to one against them - and three times they created a good attacking position inside the visitors’ 22 only to be penalised at the breakdown each time.

Ilkley, who looked to keep it in the pack and rumble from close range whenever they could, had a spell of pressure before Jake Bishop’s big tackle in midfield and an important lineout steal cleared the danger. It was becoming a defensive stalemate as strong tackling, regular handling errors and frequent penalties ensured the play seldom flowed.

Ilkley frequently banged the ball long down the middle where Bennett was his usual assured self under the high ball, then wing Billy Hardy and flanker Jack Holbrough burst 50 yards up the middle only to again be penalised at the tackle. Pocklington’s best spell saw them put together 17 attacking phases, led by forwards Tom Peters and Mat Webber, before they gave away position with the line in sight, and the half ended with another home attack that saw them lose the ball after some good approach play.

A 3-0 interval lead always looked precarious, with the wind to face in the second period, and five minutes in the scores were level as Ilkley fly-half Phil Howell equalised with a low penalty that just crept over.

Ilkley then turned the screw and battered at the home line from close range with a scrum-lineout-scrum combination. Pocklington’s determined defence kept the visiting pack out, but Ilkley came again and, though Aussie centre Morgan Collins was tackled just short, he rolled and stretched to score - the successful conversion putting the visitors ahead for the first time.

At 3-10 on the hour mark the visitors looked odds on to take the result, especially with their experience in key areas. But perhaps they overplayed keeping it tight to close out the game, and the tide turned inside the last quarter as Pocklington threw on their three forward replacements and finished the stronger.

Playing with new energy, Pocklington twice put together bouts of forward offloading that took them into the heart of the Ilkley defence. The drama and anxiety kept increasing as Pocklington went for a catch and drive then dropped the ball with the line in sight, then released another attack only for Ilkley to turn the ball over two yards out.

Bennett had a penalty kick that never got off the ground, then a further catch and drive saw powerhouse wing Hardy join the pack but lose the ball as he dived for the line - as it squirted out scrum half Ben Rees collected to touch down, but it was ruled to have gone forward.

The home spectators might have started thinking it was never going to happen for them, but the players commendably kept their composure and the breakthrough finally came with seven minutes to go as the forwards drove again and replacement No.8 Marcus Britland spun over for the try. Bennett’s conversion into the wind flew just wide and Pocklington still trailed by two points.

Pocklington still had it all to do as play went into stoppage time. But young forwards Chris Morton, Peters and Britland produced one final surge up the middle, Ilkley killed the ball and Bennett stepped up to send the winning kick sailing between the posts for their last-gasp victory.