Scarborough never looked like spoiling the Ilkley party as Martin Johnson opened their futuristic looking clubhouse in the shadow of Ilkley Moor.
The visitors failed to win sufficient ball to make an impression on a match where their efforts in every facet of the game were nullified by a desperately poor display from referee Dave Lindsey, who appeared to have let the occasion get to him in front of a partisan home crowd.
Scarborough made a lively start to the game in front of Ilkley’s biggest turnout for many seasons and drove up field, but when they moved the ball wide they were penalised for offside and from the resulting kick the west Yorkshiremen took the game to the visitors.
Playing with Nino Cutino at No8 in the absence of Phil Watson, who missed the game with a virus, and Paul Taylor in the front row, the Seasiders struggled to get clean ball and found it difficult to get their free-scoring back division into the game.
However, they should have taken the lead in 10th minute when fullback Rob James took a superb interception on half way but was dragged back by the hapless Mr Lindsey for a penalty when Ilkley obstructed in the lead up to the interception.
It looked as if the sides would cancel each other out in the opening exchanges but when Ilkley won clean possession at a scrum on halfway, good work by No 8 Brandon Hannam and scrum-half Kirk Arundale released centre Morgan Collins.
Collins brushed aside a couple of would-be Scarborough tacklers to send right winger Pete Turner over in the 17th minute.
Fly-half Phil Howell added the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Scarborough did win some possession in broken play but struggled at the set pieces, particularly the lineout where they missed both Wayne Adams and Phil Watson.
However Chris Purdy and skipper Nick Ingham battled away, the latter winning some Ilkley ball.
It looked as if something could be on when leading try scorer Tom Ratcliffe intercepted a loose Ilkley pass on his own 10 metre line and set off up the Scarborough right flank.
However a posse of tacklers eventually managed to wrestle the big winger into touch just inside their own 22 and Howell cleared his lines from the resulting line-out.
Good work by a cohesive forward pack saw the west Yorkshiremen spend time in Scarborough territory as the first half drew to a close and when they were awarded a penalty wide on their left they elected to kick for touch and go for the catch-and-drive.
Mr Lindsey, who had been assiduous in his enforcement of the minutiae of the laws, then allowed Ilkley hooker Jon Hutchinson to throw a metre short of the required five into the line-out.
Lock Kris Stafford drove through some far-from-convincing tackles to touchdown and the official awarded a try he couldn’t possibly have seen with a total of 10 players from the driving and defending sides in front of him.
Fly-half Howell converted for 14-0 in the 37th minute.
Trailing by 14 points, the visitors looked to get back into the game immediately.
However, Scarborough found themselves further adrift when they infringed offside with six second half minutes on the clock and found themselves 17-0 down, Howell kicking the penalty.
For the second week in a row, young Jake Rollinson had to cope with a very lively scrum-half in Ilkley’s Kirk Arundale and looked isolated at times.
However, he stuck to his task and with fly-half Tom Harrison in excellent line-kicking form, they managed to pin the hosts back in their own 22 for periods.
Despite this posession, the visitors never really looked like scoring a try during an extended period of territorial pressure mid-way through the second half.
Lineout failings let Scarborough down during this period where they lost possession in two excellent attacking catch and drive situations on the home five metre line. Harrison missed a difficult penalty chance from the left touchline and that was the nearest they got to getting on the scoreboard.
Ilkley took control of the final stages of the game and a series of rolling mauls up their right flank took them to the Scarborough line where some stout defending held them up.
However, following a penalty five metres out lock Charlie Scott was driven over.
At this point the ever vigilant Mr Linsey spotted an infringement missed by everyone else at Stacks Field and awarded a penalty try which Howell converted for a deserved Ilkley win but by a somewhat flattering margin.
Ilkley were undoubtedly the better team on the day in this mid-table clash; however as loath as I am to criticise referee Mr Lindsay’s Martinet-like perfunctory performance he appalled the visitors and embarrassed their hosts.
I am sure it was just a bad day at the office for the whistler who appeared to get caught up in the general bonhomie towards the west Yorkshire club. In contrast, he had a superb game when Scarborough entertained York earlier in the season when his unobtrusive display saw him unmentioned in the match report.
As for Scarborough, despite a committed display they also had a bad day at the office and struggled: they fielded what is probably their strongest back division but just couldn’t get them into the game.
Pick of the forwards was Nino Cutino playing in unfamiliar territory at number eight, while behind him centre Craig Farrell took the eye with his defensive efforts. James and Ratcliffe always looked dangerous in broken play.
The Seasiders have now lost five out of their last six games which drags them perilously down near the relegation zone and with their next two league games away from home it could be an anxious Yuletide season for Dave Beck’s men.