Hat-trick for Torkington sees Ionians ease to derby win as Depledge shines for Otley

HULL Ionians claimed local Christmas bragging rights when they beat city rivals Hull 29-6 in their National Two North derby.

No 8 Alex Torkington led the way for Ionians with three of his side’s five tries, as they maintained their lead at the top of the table heading into Christmas.

But it was Hull who drew first blood, stand-off Greg Lound kicking a penalty after three minutes, and Hull continued to play well, turning over their rivals on several occasions and displaying a gritty style which would test Ionians throughout the match.

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Ionians took the lead with Torkington’s first try after 24 minutes, which came after Sam Wilson had broken down the wing to within five metres of the line, and after two scrums Torkington drove home from close range.

Four minutes later, an overlap helped full-back Mike Bateman to score, but again there was no conversion, and a 10-3 lead was narrowed to 10-6 at the half with Lound on target on 31 minutes.

Ionians made a positive start to the second half and pinned Hull back on their own line, Torkington eventually crossing on 45 minutes to make it 15-6.

Hull hit back and drove all the way up field only to be denied by some sterling defensive work, and Ionians countered with style, only a poor final pass denying them a try.

But on 60 minutes they did score, and it was Torkington again, completing his hat-trick and ensuring at least a bonus point for the hosts. This time Chris Reakes was successful with the conversion.

On 72 minutes, Bateman bagged another try, Reakes adding the extras to make it 29-6.

Scrum-half Stephen Depledge excelled for Otley, converting his own late try to finish with 20 points in a 25-24 victory at Preston Grasshoppers.

Lewis Allen’s penalty opened the scoring on six minutes for the home side, but Otley got themselves ahead through Ben Steele’s unconverted try just a minute later.

Allen struck again with the boot, but again the visitors edged ahead when Depledge opened his account for the afternoon. But a try from Billy Woof saw Preston go in 11-10 ahead at the break.

Depledge’s try early in the second half gave Otley a four-point lead but Grasshoppers pulled away when Allen converted his own try before adding a second penalty.

Depledge and Allen then traded penalties to leave the hosts six points to the good before Otley’s excellent No 9 struck with his hat-trick score and coolly holding his nerve to add the match-winning conversion.

Despite missing several key players, Harrogate still had too much to record a 29-13 derby win at home to Huddersfield.

It had all started so well for the visitors when they went ahead through Joel Hinchcliffe’s drop goal.

It wasn’t long, however, before the hosts exerted their dominance, Luke Edwards’s try putting them ahead with Joe Rowntree adding the extra two points.

The home attacks continued and, when Huddersfield went offside, Rowntree’s penalty extended the lead.

Lewis Minikin then drew his man to create space for Barry Frost to score his maiden Harrogate try before Huddersfield upped their game with a Hinchcliffe penalty making it 17-6 at the break.

Hinchcliffe was then on hand to convert Nick Sharpe’s try, bringing the visitors to within two points. But after Hinchcliffe missed a penalty, Harrogate made them pay.

Danny Matthews and Minikin both went over the line, with Rowntree on hand to convert the latter for a comfortable victory.