By James Fountain
Ilkley had reason to be confident on Saturday, starting their seventh Northern Premier match in sixth place unbeaten at home.
But Alnwick swiftly dominated the game through their powerful forwards, and fly-half Callum Burn presented with 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 line-out was chaotic from the outset, their scrummaging lacking the technical adeptness of the Northumbrian visitors.
Callum Burn’s kicking from hand, backed by a well-drilled pack, regularly forced Ilkley deeper into their own half.
The resultant scrum from a knock-on ten metres out ended in Ilkley being driven back to their line giving a try centre Rob Cuthbert on twenty minutes, unconverted.
A try-saving tackle by number 8 Max McKay was undone two minutes later by Brown’s kick being charged down by Alnwick’s replacement right wing Hamish Burn, ably converted, making the score 15-0.
Ilkley’s misery was then compounded by the loss of a scrum against the head, resulting in another dynamic Alnwick move.
A well-timed pass by Captain Peter Moralee sent speedy prop Colin Philipps over to score an unconverted try, Alnwick leading 20-0 at half time.
After the re-start, a rare error from the Alnwick forwards presented Ilkley with their first points, and they trailed 20-3.
Alnwick then re-applied the pressure, the ball 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 in the 51st minute – Alnwick’s first bonus point of the season.
The conversion by man of the match Burn made it 27-3, Ilkley continuing to give away penalties, and were consistently off-side.
Fly-half Ed Brown missed a tackle on 55 minutes, allowing impressive Alnwick prop 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, 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 first-placed Hull on 3 November.