Midlands One East
Ilkeston 15 Bedford Athletic 13
Ilkeston are up to third spot in Midlands One East after edging past Bedford Athletic 15-13 at the Stute on Saturday.
The stats so far this season had this game too close to call beforehand with Bedford residing in fourth spot in the table and the Elks looking on withenvy one place below them.
And it was Bedford who got first blood after a midfield penalty gave them their first shot on goal after nine minutes to make it 3-0 to the visitors.
Elks responded well and from a Bedford clearance kick, fielded by Jacob Heath who punched up the right, quick ball was spun to Greg Taylor at fly half. His offload on the tackle line fed a marauding Steve Mahoney who was eventually hauled down on the five metre line.
Thequick ball caught the now disorganised Bedford defence off guard and simple hands across the line from Taylor, Alex Ayres and Jack Partington fed Heath to go over in the corner on the 18 minute mark.
The returning Jono Falls sent the ball through the sticks from the touchline and the Elkstook the lead 7-3 to rousing applause from the home crowd.
Bedford then responded with a try that came from a lost Elks line out which was an area both sides struggled with all afternoon. After a scrappy passage of brokenplay, an Elks clearance kick was fielded by the Bedford nine who jinkedthrough a number of tackles to run under the post from the Elks ten metre line.
With 29 minutes on the clock, the easy conversion made it 10-7 to Bedford.
Late in the half Heath got his brace after a good take by Chris Tipton at the Elks line-out on the Bedford five metre line.
The pack punched it up the midfield twice and and quick ball was spun left, allowing Tom Pottinger to feed Heath. With the conversion missed the Elks re-took the lead 12-10 at the break.
A high tackle on a Partington attack gave the Elks their first chance of points in the second half but the attempt was pushed wide on 41 minutes.
It was Bedford who got the breakthrough on 62 minutes when the Elks midfield strayed offside for the one and only time in the game. The easy shot was taken well to give Bedford back the lead 13-12.
Five minutes later and the Elks retook the lead 15-13 with a penalty of their own drifting just inside the posts from the boot of Falls from inside the Bedford ten metre line, that ultimately being the final score of the game as the Elks ruthlessly executed the final minutes of play with great maturity.
Adam Corcoran’s experience and control at the base of the scrum got him the nod for man-of-the-match.
This weekend sees Ilkeston head to struggling Belgrave.