Ilkley recorded their first win in the league since October with a morale-boosting 37-10 success at bottom club Burnage.
The victory was made all the sweeter by news of Huddersfield YMCA’s defeat by Wirral which allowed Ilkley to climb above them.
Ilkley made the perfect start when winger Nico Nyemba raced in for his first try for the club, leaving Joe Rowntree to convert.
That was followed by a second converted score from back-row Pat Power before Rowntree added a third with an excellent finish to make it 19-0.
A penalty and a bonus point try later, courtesy of centre Steve Nolson, saw the visitors 27-3 to the good by half-time.
Rowntree put the seal on the win almost immediately after the restart with his second, which he converted and, after the hosts had pulled back a try, a late penalty rounded off the scoring.
Huddersfield YMCA dropped down a place despite claiming a bonus point in their 29-22 loss at home to second-placed Wirral.
A brave display, that included a brace from winger Adam Ryder, saw the hosts leading 12-5 with two tries in the first half.
However, they were eventually pegged back to 12-12 by the promotion-chasers, who eventually took control of the game.
In the latter stages, the visitors were leading 29-15 after scoring three unanswered second-half tries until a late score and conversion proved enough to grab YMCA some reward.
Sheffield Tigers maintained their lead with a 26-0 home victory over Cleckheaton as the top three sides all scored bonus point wins.
In wet and miserable conditions at Dore Moor, Tigers edged in front with a try by prop Will Bennett midway through the first half, Mark Ireland converting. Ireland also added the points when winger Henri Packard raced over.
In the last seconds of the first half, centre Rupert Broadley crossed but Ireland was wide with the kick.
The second half was peppered with handling errors as conditions worsened and darkness descended, the only score coming in the 38th minute of the half when Tigers were awarded a penalty try and Ireland converted.
Just one point separated Hull and Billingham in the table at the start of play so a tight match was expected and that is exactly what the spectators saw as Hull battled to a 12-6 win.
The visitors got off to a good start as full-back Peter Evans slotted over a penalty in the opening minutes but Hull were soon on top as their full-back Lee Birch ran through for a try.
With 58 minutes gone, Hull were awarded a penalty try after a number of infringements five yards out and Birch converted.
With a minute remaining, Evans kicked another penalty and Billingham went all out for a winning try but ran out of time.
Fourth-placed Sheffield’s match at Lymm was postponed because the Cheshire side’s pitch was under water.
Rossendale’s home match against Stockport was also off, allowing Hull to climb above Rossendale into fifth place in the table.