Ilkeston 18 Derby 19
The Elks lostby a single point to Derby in a game they could and should have won, as they created plenty of chances but fell short at crucial times.
Dan, Greg and Lewis Taylor were missing so the back line was shuffled with Isaac Taylor on the wing, Jack Partington at centre and a debut on the flank for Reuben Alley.
Elks played uphill in the first half and soon had good territory and possession, Derby giving away a penalty which Joel Haigh converted to give Elks an early lead at 3-0 after four minutes.
Derby continued to give penalties away and Haigh again converted to stretch the lead to 6-0 after six minutes after a visiting winger was yellow carded.
Another yellow card then reduced Derby to 13 men but Elks couldn’t capitalise, and once one of their players returned they scored their first try down the right on 28 minutes, the conversion missed.
Derby’s confidence grew with this score and now back to 15 players they attacked again, scoring under the posts after 32 minutes with the successful conversion putting them 12-6 ahead which was the score at half-time.
After a good period of possession early in the second-half Elks registered their first try, Partington timing his run well to beat the defence and score after a break by Adam Corcoran.
They then went 18-12 ahead when Corcoran himself went over after Taylor’s 30 metre break, with Haigh convertin.
The game was now mainly around both ten metre lines as both sides battled for the upper hand, and Elks had two great chances to score but knock ons halted play.
Then, Elks were penalised following a line-out and Derby quickly moved the ball right to score near the posts, the conversion slotted to score the winning points after 78 minutes.
Elks had one last chance to attack but following a Derby penalty the ensuing line out was not straight and Derby kicked dead to bring the final whistle.
The Elks players were all disappointed to lose a game that was there to be won, but small margins decide games like these and the Elks made vital mistakes at the wrong time when they had chance to pull clear.
Alex Ayres was back to his best with some great defence and strong running in attack to earn man-of-the-match.
Elks travel to newly-promoted Huntingdon this weekend.