Away at Ilkley
Four debuts for the Colts at Ilkley
After three successful weeks in the Yorkshire Cup the Brods had an away fixture at Ilkley the week before they play their first league fixture of the season away at Yarnbury.
This provided an ideal opportunity for the Brods to rotate the squad and play of the squad who have not featured heavily in the previous three weeks.
There were starting debuts for four new players, Luke Pilling, Jake Steel, Alex Tighe and Kian Tighe. Competition for starting places has never been stronger in the squad and the healthy rivalry has created a good atmosphere amongst the players for a starting shirt.
The game kicked off in a squally shower and the wind was blowing in all directions making the start to the game a little slow due the number of handling errors from both teams. Both side quickly adapted to the conditions and the Brods found themselves defending deep in their own half. All credit to the Ilkley players they were prepared to run the ball at every opportunity and played some good attacking rugby. The Brods defence held and as the Brods players some playing their first game of the season began to find their own attacking fluency, and began to run the ball in attack as well. After a further period of pressure Ilkley opened the scoring with a well worked try set up by their forwards patient approach play and then the backs creating the space for a well worked try scored close to the posts which was converted.
The Brods began to gain in confidence lead forwards by Toby Spooner, Sam Neal and Cillion Neil the Brods began to find their way into the game.
After some good approach play showing patience the Brods forwards created a platform for Toby Spooner to let the backs attack the ball was quickly put through the hands Wildsmith with some lovely footwork beat his man backed himself beat his man with pace and scored the Brods first try.
The Brods played the last part of the first half down to 14 with Steel in the bin for what appeared a harsh decision by the referee for the inexperienced player. Brods weathered the storms and the half time score was.
The half time score was 7 – 5 to Ilkley.
The second half started and the changes the Brods had made took time to settle and for long periods the possession and territory was all Ilkley. The dead lock and the Brods defence was eventually breached and Ilkley scored another well work try to lead 14 – 5. As the changes that were made at half time began to take effect, and the extra fresh legs from the bench came on the tide was turned. Brods lead by Toby Spooner in the backs were now attacking with great frequency and accuracy considering the conditions. Both sides found themselves down to fourteen men after an incident which saw two Ilkley players fighting with one Old Brodleian. Two were sent to the bin and Brods were know driving Ilkley back in the forwards through, Hough, Neal and Neil and with some great work at the breakdown and some high quality tackling. Joe Souter after not much game time in recent weeks had a strong game with ball in hand with some strong driving runs and good work at the breakdown.
The Brods players began to believe in their own ability, and with the forwards creating the platform, the backs were know creating many threats with both Alex and Kian Tighe having good runs. Eventually Brods unlocked the Ilkley defence and Bradley Etheridge scored a great try showing real pace to beat his man wide out with the conversion being missed. Quickly the Brods were back on the attack and from a lovely box kick from Dominic Howarth the Ilkley defence spilled the ball, and with searing pace of Bradley Etheridge saw the mistake hacked the ball forwards, and won the foot race to the ball to score under the posts. Both squads had emptied their benches and the lack of rugby and match fitness was showing in both squads from the players not having much game time with the Yorkshire Cup. As the game came into the last five minutes the both sides looked like tired heavy weight boxers slugging it out in the middle of the ring. Another moment of magic from Toby Spooner saw the backs break out and the ball was put through the hands and down the line for Etheridge to beat his man again, and have the pace to score under the post for the final try of the game and giving Bradley Etheridge a hat trick.
The final score was 24-14 to the Brods.