Elks all set to begin new campaign

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ILKESTON RUFC will begin the new Midlands One East season with a home clash against Spalding this Saturday - kick-off 3pm.

The Elks are looking to build on a highly successful 2010-11 campaign which saw them challenging for a promotion spot throughout much of the season and put together a 12-match winning streak between October and February.

And coach Roger Bestwick is hopeful his side can go one step further this time around.

He said: “It’ll be a tough start as we have a few key players missing through injury and holidays, but I’m hoping once we’re settled we can find the kind of form we did in the middle part of last season.

“The division will be challenging once more because some good sides have come down and been promoted, and there will also be quite a bit of travelling involved, but we’re hoping to be up there challenging for the promotion spots again.”

The Elks have signed prop Ryan Mills and Newark second row Steve Fowkes, while Beau Carney has left the club to retun to Rugby Lions.

Another prop, Kiwi Matt McGuire, is expected to remain in New Zealand until mid-September, while the Elks will once again have the help of Nottingham RFC stars Craig Hammond and David Jackson, who will be coaching the players twice a week.

Ilkeston’s

2011/12 fixtures:

September:

3 - Spalding (h)

10 - Peterborough (a)

17 - Derby (h)

24 - Loughborough (a)

October

1 - Towcestrians (h)

8 - Leighton Buzzard (h)

15 - Market Rasen & Louth (a)

22 - Bedford Athletic (h)

29 - Matlock (a)

November

12 - Nuneaton Old Edwardians (h)

19 - Coalville (a)

26 - Ashbourne (a)

December

3 - Paviors (h)

10 - Kettering (a)

17 - Peterborough (h)

January

7 - Derby (a)

14 - Loughborough (h)

21 - Towcestrians (a)

28 - Leighton Buzzard (a)

February

4 - Market Rasen & Louth (h)

18 - Beford Athletic (a)

March

3 - Matlock (h)

10 - Nuneaton Old Edwardians (a)

24 - Coalville (h)

31 - Paviors (a)

April

14 - Kettering (h)

21 - Spalding (a)