Scarborough outscored their west Yorkshire opponents 2-1 in tries but once again their Achilles Heel, poor discipline, let them down gifting 15 points to Ilkley fullback Peter Shanks in an error strewn game at Silver Royd.
Kicking off, Ilkley were first out of the blocks as they drove up-field with real purpose.
And when a Scarborough player encroached offside just outside his own 22 head on to the posts, Shanks made no mistake with his kick for a 3-0 lead with less than a minute on the clock.
Scarborough came straight back when flanker Louis Karl latched on to a poor throw at a Ilkley attacking lineout in his own 22 and drove deep into visiting territory; however the talented Kiwi ran out of support and the chance went begging.
Loose forwards Iain McKenzie, Neil Spence and Hamish Pratt were in stunning form for the visitors and were first to every breakdown in an opening 10 minutes where Ilkley’s forwards dominated the home eight particularly in the loose. So it was no surprise when the home defence strayed offside under pressure and Shanks kicked his second penalty for 6-0 in the 12th minute.
The west Yorkshiremen continued to be first in for everything at the contact area against a somnambulant Scarborough side and stretched their lead in the 18th minute. The home eight infringed at a scrum and from the catch at the resulting line-out lock Kris Stafford secured and flanker Spence was driven over for the first try of the game.
Shanks failed to convert but the visitors eased further ahead at 11-0.
Scarborough cut the deficit almost from the re-start when they secured the ball and initiated a superb drive to the line down their left flank for Louis Karl to burrow over.
Prop Matty Jones added the extras with the touchline conversion for 11-7 in the 20th minute.
However the home side’s discipline let them down six minutes later when they infringed just outside their own 22 and Shanks stretched the lead to 14-7 on the half hour.
Scarborough appeared to be getting back into the game just before the break as they found good field position wide on their right deep in the visitors 22 only to turn ball over and find themselves under pressure just outside their own 22 following a howitzer relieving kick from Ilkley fly-half Phil Howell.
Fullback Graeme Jeffrey was penalized and sin-binned for coming in from the side at a subsequent maul and Shanks administered summary justice with his fourth penalty of the half to see his side lead 17-7 at half time.
Kicking off after the break Scarborough secured possession and drove deep into Ilkley territory: however their ball retention in contact continued to let them down as they huffed and puffed but rarely looked as if they would do something to turn the game around.
Going into the final quarter they finally woke up and with Wayne Adams on for Lee at number eight, TH Grace replacing Phil Stewart at fly-half and Paul Taylor coming into the front row for Jason Lowde they at last started to look something like the ‘real deal.’
Penetrating runs from Karl, Matty Jones and Paul Taylor plus silky skills from Grace and Marcus Edwards started to force errors from the erstwhile solid visiting defence.
However after Jones had scuffed a penalty attempt in front of the Ilkley posts on the hour, Shanks stretched the visitors’ lead to 20-7 with a penalty of his own in the 63rd minute.
A sizeable Silver Royd turnout was at last lifted when Shanks and winger Tom McLean made a mess of an awkward clearance upfield from Edwards, the ball was secured and moved infield for Scarborough skipper Nick Ingham to thunder through the middle and score between the uprights in the 66th minute.
Jones added the extras to reduce the arrears to six points.
They threw everything at Ilkley in the last 10 minutes of the game but resilient defence held them at bay going into the last couple of minutes when a superb rolling maul was collapsed by Ilkley only a metre or so from their line.
Ref Oliver Mantle from Harrogate sin-binned the culprit but judged that a try was not inevitably going to be scored and therefore turned down Scarborough claims for a penalty try. Although he did advise the visitors that a repeat of the offence would result in a penalty try. That was Scarborough’s last chance to save the game and Ilkley held on for a narrow but deserved victory.
Scarborough lost this game in the opening 20 minutes when they were completely off the pace and conceded 11 points without reply. They were second best at every breakdown and found it difficult to get their hands on the ball and therefore provide possession for their backs.
Their indiscipline gifted five kickable penalties to Shanks who bagged 75 per cent of his team’s points with his boot.
A vastly improved final quarter when the men from Silver Royd upped their game considerably almost saw them snatch the game and the league points. On a desperately disappointing afternoon Marcus Edwards was the pick of the backs but was too far away from the action at outside centre. Flanker Karl and second rowers Matthew Else and Nick Ingham grafted throughout.
Coach Dave Beck’s charges will have to improve vastly on this display if they are to live with leaders Malton and Norton on Saturday.
Scarborough: Jeffrey, Domett, Edwards, Parker, White, Stewart, Morete, Lowde, Williams, Jones, Ingham (capt), Else, Purdy, Karl, Lee.
SUBS: Taylor, Adams, Grace (all used 2nd half)