Elks seal victory in bad-tempered affair

Tom Hicks is pictured on the charge during the clash with Belgrave.  Photo by Rod Wetton (www.rodwettonphotography.co.uk)
Tom Hicks is pictured on the charge during the clash with Belgrave. Photo by Rod Wetton (www.rodwettonphotography.co.uk)

Ilkeston finally saw off a battling Belgrave side 27-21 on Saturday after a frustrating game which was stop-start throughout.

Elks started with the slope advantage and made all the early running, taking the lead after 12 minutes.

After Ilkeston had taken clean line out ball, the backs moved quickly right and recycled the ball. Tom Hicks mad a decisive break and fed Jacob Heath who sprinted clear to score in the corner, Jono Falls adding a difficult conversion to make it 7-0

Belgrave responded well and had their first spell in the Elks half, where following a couple of penalties the visitors reduced the lead with a well-struck penalty making it 7-3.

Elks were still dominating possession and territory and the lead was extended on 27 minutes when Falls made a great angled run and pierced the defence, drawing the last defender and feeding Heath to score his second try, the extras missed making it 12-3.

Belgrave then slotted a drop goal to make it 12-6 following some more Ilkeston ill discipline, that then followed by a penalty after Elks were penalised for not rolling away to reduce the score to 12-9.

Ilkeston then had the final say of the half by working well in the backs and creating an overlap for Isaac Taylor to score on the stroke of half-time, extras again missed making it 17-9.

Belgrave had the slope in the second-half but their first territorial kick was poor and allowed Heath to counter attack. The ball was recycled and Tom Pottinger carried on the move on the right wing before he offloaded one-handed to Isaac Taylor to score in the right corner, the extras again missed but Elks now leading 22-9 after 43 minutes.

Belgrave came back strong ly down the hill and the Elks penalty count was beginning to mount. Patience wore out from the referee and Dan Hyams received the first of several yellows, Matt Watkins and Simon Bennett also sin-binned not long afterwards before a penalty try brought Belgrave back to within six points after a scrum collapsed on impact.

Belgrave had the momentum and Elks could not adapt to the referee’s interpretation of the breakdown and gave away further penalties before Belgrave made their numerical advantage count by focing over on 63 minutes for another try - the extras missed meaning it was now 22-21.

Next to receive a yellow was Joel Haigh who had made a tackle, got to his feet and played the ball so most of the crowd were bemused at this decision, Belgrave then seeing one of their own sin-binned on 72 minutes after he failed to roll away from a tackle on Isaac Taylor, who himself was yellow carded not long afterwards following a scuffle on the touchline.

The win was finally sealed right on full-time when Falls made a break and fed Jake Lamb who completed the scoring, Falls missing the extras.

Man of the Match went to Tom Pottinger who stepped in to second row at short notice and gave a solid performance throughout.

Ilkeston have no game this weekend so the next League fixture is at Bugbrooke on February 21.