Ilkeston RUFC won their first ever Three Counties Cup final by overcoming Scunthorpe 10-8 in a gripping final at Matlock on Saturday.
The Elks kicked off and made a good start but it would be Scunthorpe who took the lead with an early penalty from in front of the posts.
Elks were seeing plenty of possession but strong defence from Scunthorpe was forcing turnovers, until Ilkeston began to settle more into the game.
Greg Taylor’s good work along with that of Alex Ayres, Jacob Heath and Jack Partington then forced a penalty which Partington struck cleanly to level up the score at 3-3 at half-time.
The second-half saw Scunthorpe start brightly before becoming a man lighter thanks to a yellow card when a maul was illegally dragged down.
Elks kicked to the corner and from the line out drove forward, the ball was held up over the line and Elks had a five metre scrum from which the pack drove over with Adam Corcoran getting the vital touchdown, Partington adding the extras to give the lead to the Elks, 10-3 after 52 minutes.
The kick off was knocked on giving momentum back to Scunthorpe, but great defence by the Elks proved crucial for much of the remainder.
One good Ilkeston attack featured Nick Gray, Ayres and Steve Quinn working well but the final pass went astray.
Scunthorpe then attacked from a line-out but a strong tackle from Reuben Elley forced a knock on.
The Elks scrum was looking better, providing a good platform for the backs. Jake Lamb was kicking tactically well and forcing Scunthorpe back, until Ilkeston were penalised at a line-out and Scunthorpe set up an attacking maul. They drove forward and peeled off the side to score on 75 minutes, but the conversion was not easy and thankfully for the Elks it drifted wide to keep Ilkeston 10-8 in front.
Scunthorpe came strong at the Elks looking for the winning score but the defence stood firm as it had for most of the game.
Great play by Greg Taylor and Ayres took play into the Scunthorpe 22 where Elks managed to stay until the final whistle blew and the Elks celebrated a famous victory.
This was a fully deserved victory for Ilkeston with the defence outstanding, but man of the match went to Greg Taylor who kept the Elks going forward with some great tactical kicking and immense tackling in defence.
To cap off a great weekend for the club the U19s Colts won their plate final 17-12 against Mansfield, coming back from 12-0 down at half-time.