Ilkley 8 Alnwick 32

ILKLEY had reason to be confident on Saturday, starting their seventh Northern Premier match in sixth place and unbeaten at home, but they were blown away here by the Alnwick pack and slipped to a crushing defeat.

Alnwick swiftly dominated the game through their powerful forwards, and fly-half Callum Burn kicked a simple penalty in the first minute.

Incisive runs by the Alnwick backs were in stark contrast to an Ilkley back line blunted by a superior defence. The home lineout was also chaotic, their scrummaging lacking the technical adeptness of the Northumbrian visitors.

Callum Burn’s kicking from hand meanwhile, backed by a well-drilled pack, regularly forced Ilkley deeper into their own half.

A scrum from a knock-on ten metres out ended in Ilkley being driven back to their line and visiting centre Rob Cuthbert scoring an unconverted try.

A try-saving tackle by Ilkley's Max McKay was undone two minutes later by Ed Brown’s kick being charged down. Alnwick’s replacement right wing Hamish Burn scored, and the successful kick put the visitors 15-0 ahead.

After Ilkley lost a scrum against the head, a well-timed pass by Alnwick captain Peter Moralee sent speedy prop Colin Philipps over to score an unconverted try, to give the visitors a 20-0 half-time lead.

After the restart, a rare error from the Alnwick forwards presented Ilkley with their first points to make it 20-3, but Alnwick soon reapplied the pressure.

The ball was ripped from captain Elliot Morgan on the 22-metre line, giving a fourth Alnwick try to scrum half Simon Ord, who muscled his way through the maul to score and earn Alnwick’s first bonus point of the season.

The conversion by man of the match Callum Burn made it 27-3, as Ilkley continued to give away penalties, and were consistently offside.

Fly-half Ed Brown missed a tackle on 55 minutes, allowing the impressive Phillipps through for his second try. Now 32-3 down, Ilkley briefly revived, with lock Steve Burns winning several line-outs and driving forward.

Eventually, his efforts resulted in replacement back Pete Erskine diving over in the right corner, but it proved immaterial, with Alnwick deserved 32-8 victors.

Ilkley head coach Rhys Morgan said: “They made one mistake in the first half, we made ten. We had poor continuity and too many errors – if some of our players don’t front up, they’ll lose their places.”

Ilkley are now tenth, and host leaders Hull on November 3.