Ilkley have to grin and bear Intermediate Cup final loss at Twickenham (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Ilkley have to grin and bear Intermediate Cup final loss at Twickenham
East Grinstead 34, Ilkley 18
Ilkley twice had the lead but ultimately had to give second best to a powerful East Grinstead outfit in yesterday's RFU Intermediate Cup final at Twickenham.
Injuries did not help coach Rhys Morgan’s side and he said: “We needed 80 minutes out of Stuart Vincent, John Oakes and Ben Fear but they are coming back from injuries and couldn’t do it.
“We gave a good, solid display but we could have done with that extra lift of points in the first half.”
They were 11-0 ahead after 21 minutes thanks to two penalties by fly half Phil Howell and a try by winger John-Henry Johnson, who was Ilkley’s man of the match, but spilt a golden chance in the 20th minute.
Johnsons’s break gave the popular former Otley and Wharfedale centre Alistair Monks daylight but he knocked on.
The Sussex side finished the half strongly, however, with scrum half Adrian Hogben going over in the 25th minute and hooker Karl Gleave crossing the whitewash ten minutes later, man of the match Rick McKenna converting both tries.
Johnson then pulled off a try-saving tackle on the stroke of half-time.
Gleave went from hero to villain when he was yellow-carded for a technical offence shortly after the restart.
Mark Kirkby, 36 years young, then pinched the ball in his 22 but the veteran left winger was overhauled deep in East Grinstead’s 22.
However, it wasn’t long before the Dalesmen regained the lead as they won a penalty in front of the posts in the 50th minute.
Howell surprisingly hit the far post with the kick but Ilkley got their reward a minute later when the pack drove former Bees lock Steve Burns over, Howell converting to make it 18-14.
East Grinstead controlled the rest of the match, Ilkley being penalised from the kick-off, Kiwi McKenna landing the penalty.
Johnson saved a second try before centre Walter Downey crashed over in the 58th minute, McKenna’s conversion making the score 24-18.
After a break by Sam Hampson, McKenna scored himself seven minutes later, converting it and adding a peach of a drop goal six minutes from time.
Johnson finished a busy match by making a break and then saving a third try on the final whistle.
East Grinstead, buoyed by McKenna’s virtuoso display and already champions of London Two South East, are now chasing a treble, facing Chichester in the Sussex Cup final on May 19.
* Former Bradford & Bing-ley players Joe Bartlett and Martyn Bray were in the Wath team who were beaten 31-22 by Wells in the RFU Senior Vase final.
Ex-Halifax players Richard Hill and Matthew Burrows scored tries for Wath, as did Steve Mason.