- Tense battles for West Yorkshire neighbours
- South Yorkshire challengers coast home
Yorkshire clubs achieved a clean sweep of their three RFU National Knockout competition Semi-finals and are now planning for an outing at Twickenham on May 5, 2012.
Ilkley led the way when a last-gasp try by No 8 Iain McKenzie gave them a 24-20 win over Intermediate Cup holders Stoke at Stack’s Field.
The Yorkshiremen were quickly out of the blocks and led 10-0 after as many minutes with a McKenzie try and a conversion and penalty from fly-half Phil Howells, but Stoke rallied strongly to level by half-time.
Stoke then gained the upper hand to establish a 20-10 lead before Ilkley rekindled their hopes with a try from full-back Stuart Vincent that Howells converted expertly from wide out.
The scene was then set for a grandstand finish with climaxed in McKenzie forcing his way over on the final play of the game and Howells converting.
“We had 1,100 spectators at the game, which is the biggest gate anyone can remember and the atmosphere was tremendous,” said the club’s Rugby Operations Manager Tom Gillon. “It was a last second try, but we just about deserved it. It was a fantastic day all round – one of those days I’ve never experienced before in my lifetime.”
Ilkley will now play East Grinstead at Twickenham on May 5th who beat North Bristol 59-3.
One man with an interest in events at Ilkley was Baildon coach David Duxbury, who moved from Stack’s Field to Jenny Lane last year and now finds himself heading for Twickenham with his new club after they emerged with a 23-10 win Coventry club Old Wheatleyans.
In contrast to their Yorkshire neighbours, Baildon made a slow start and were 10-0 adrift after the first quarter, but thanks to a brace of penalties from fly-half Micky Lister, they were in the game at 10-6 by half-time.
The game was in the balance in the second-half, but eventually they gained the upper hand and went ahead with a try by centre Jarrod Huss. The scoring then switched to the forwards, where locks Andy Pollard and Alistair Beaumont both crossed and with a conversion from Lister, the Yorkshiremen got home after a tense.
Victory was made all the sweeter by the fact that Baildon were beaten by Billericay in their only previous visit to an RFU Semi-final.
“It was a great day for the club and a fantastic day out for the people who went to support the team” said Rugby Chairman Andy Whitley. “We had tremendous support and the whole club is absolutely delighted.
“Out last piece of silverware came when we won the Yorkshire Silver Trophy by beating Wibsey in 1999 and having lost in the RFU Semi-final, winning is so much sweeter.”
Baildon will now meet Harrow RUFC, 38-6 winners against Brockworth RUFC, in the final.
Wath upon Dearne RUFC swept into the final of the RFU Senior Vase with an emphatic 52-7 win over visitors Stourbridge Lions.
The South Yorkshire side scored eight tries, centre Steve Mason leading the way with a hat trick and second-row pair Simon Lines and Richard Hill also getting on the scoresheet. Fly-half Martyn Bay, scrum-half Joe Bartlett and captain and No 8 Matthew Burrows also crossed, with full-back Ben Keen kicking six conversions.
A crowd of 600, the biggest ever seen at Moor Road, watched the best first-half performance of the season as the home side hit the ground running and allied to some particularly powerful defending, a 19-point onslaught in the opening 15 minutes gave Wath total control.
The performance tailed off a little in the second half and Stourbridge grabbed a well deserved try in the second-half from their captain and Number 8 Stuart Doolittle following a period of sustained pressure which raised morale in the visitors’ camp, but it was to be there only reward in the face of a top-class Wath display.
“There was a great atmosphere in the club house afterwards which was a credit to the volunteers who made the day such a resounding success,” said Press Officer Rebecca Bird. “It was certainly a day for the Wath upon Dearne RUFC history books.”
Wath will now face Wells, 14-8 winners at Maidstone, in the final.