Away-day woe as Elks are battered by Matlock

Ilkeston RUFC's Joel Haigh (left) attempts to start an attack during his side's heavy defeat at Matlock on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.
Ilkeston RUFC's Joel Haigh (left) attempts to start an attack during his side's heavy defeat at Matlock on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.
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ILKESTON suffered their heaviest defeat for eight-and-a-half years on Saturday as they were swept away by Matlock at Cromford Meadows.

Midlands One (East)

Matlock 60

Ilkeston 7

ILKESTON suffered their heaviest defeat for eight-and-a-half years on Saturday as they were swept away by Matlock at Cromford Meadows.

It was the Elks’ worst day since a 60-3 reverse at Syston in the 2002/3 season, and saw their hosts jump back above them in the league standings.

By the time the half-time whistle was blown the Elks were 36-0 behind and Matlock had grabbed the four-try bonus point.

The slump started as quickly as the second minute when, starting brightly, Matlock moved the ball swiftly from one side to the other before leaving their speedy left winger with nothing but slow recovering forwards to beat.

However, the wake-up call never came and the Elks continued to struggle, looking under pressure in the scrum, demonstrating poor tackling skills and then, as a Dan Taylor clearance kick looked to relieve the pressure, the support players strayed in front of the kicker and the Elks were pinned back into their 22 yet again.

After seven minutes the Elks were further disrupted when flanker Tom McKelvey suffered a mouth injury and was replaced by Steve Quinn.

The ensuing scrum looked more settled with Taylor and Quinn making good midfield progress before scrum-half Joel Haigh delivered a good clearance kick.

Although the throw was Matlock’s the Elks lineout was to start the dominance it showed all game.

Second rows Russ Garland and Adam Stoker were ably assisted by Quinn in dominating this area of the game.

However, Matlock’s flyhalf Young quickly spotted the danger and cannily kept the ball away from touch for the rest of the game and opted to kick behind forcing the Elks to turn and defend.

The second home try came after 18 minutes when after such a clearance the Elks defence chose to run into contact, lost the ball, failed to gather the kick through and from the resulting scrum showed poor defence again to leave the home side 12-0 ahead.

This was followed four minutes later by the third as a series of rucks and mauls swept through the defence and under the posts to move the score onto 19-0.

Sensing an animal in the throes of death Matlock struck swiftly again when from a move involving a forward pass, inexplicably missed by the referee, the Elks were penalised for side entry and Young stabbed the ball between the posts for 22-0.

The home side’s third try came 29 minutes into the half when after a nice break from fly-half Jones, he was hauled down when attempting to kick the ball leaving Matlock to snaffle the ball and speed away downfield to make it 29-0.

A glimmer of hope briefly came before the break when after a clean Russ Garland line-out take the Elks moved the ball left, right and back left but a poor midfield pass on the home 22 again gifted the ball to Matlock who repeated the medicine and raced downfield to score under the posts again to take the score on to 36-0.

The Elks made a brighter start to the second-half but Matlock once again demonstrated their pace out wide with another try which Young converted for 43-0.

Ilkeston finally registered when Garland took a line-out cleanly and the ball was mauled forward before Ellis Hallam darted back right into the offside defence.

The quick thinking Jones took a tap penalty and danced over unopposed wide on the left, which Haigh converted giving the Elks their only score after 60 minutes.

Young knocked over a penalty for 46-7 and Matlock grabbed another converted try to surge on to 53-7 after 66 minutes, and the hosts continued to capitalise on poor handling and being given needles penalties, their final seven points coming with the final move of the game following a penalty conceded under the posts.

The Elks return to league action on November 12 at the Stute against Nuneaton Old Edwardians, kick-off 2.15pm.