Ilkeston continued their push for promotion with a comfortable 57-14 win over bottom-of-the-table side Loughborough on Saturday.
With Ilkeston having lost their last league game to lowly Peterborough before Christmas, a good performance was needed on a bright January day, with the ground heavy underfoot.
The home side had the earliest opening with a penalty in front of the posts which was missed, and that would immediately be punished with Ilkeston scoring the first try on ten minutes.
After a well-drilled catch and drive from an Elks line out five metres from the try line, Matt McGuire came up last with the ball to score, superbly converted by Joel Haigh from out wide.
Next, an Ilkeston scrum in the same place saw the Elks punch it up in the centre and Steve Quinn went over on 18 minutes, Haigh again converting.
The third followed two minutes later, Lewis Taylor scoring after a fine display of open running from Ilkeston, Haigh again adding the extras.
Haigh scored the next try himself, fed by Greg Taylor before snipping around the ruck to dive over on 25 minutes, before converting his own effort.
It took until eight minutes into the second-half for Ilkeston to register again, Jono Falls going over in the corner and Haigh again converting for 0-35.
Lewis Taylor then claimed his second try after superb distribution from Jake Lamb, although this time Haigh missed the conversion attempt.
Four minutes later another good line-out win from Jake Smithurst saw the ball moved left then right for Falls to claim his second try in the corner, ruthlessly converted by Haigh to bring the score up to 0-47.
A spirited Loughborough team never gave in and eventually got some reward for their efforts with a converted try to make it 7-47, but two minutes later Falls scored his third, unconverted, to stretch Ilkeston’s lead further.
Another converted try from Loughborough made it 14-52 but Ilkeston had the last say as Alex Ayres scored in the corner with the conversion missed, bringing the final whistle and scoreline of 14-57.
Overall this was a pretty good display against a struggling Loughborough side, as early trepidation was quickly put to bed and the nine-try festival of good solid rugby was on display.
There were many contenders for man-of-the-match, but a hat-trick of tries cannot be ignored and the award went to Jonathan Falls.
The next fixture sees Towcestrians travel to the Stute for a 2.15pm kick-off this Saturday (12th)