Depleted Elks fall to a third straight defeat

Ilkeston RUFC's Stephen Fowkes (right) gets up at a line-out during the match with Towcestrians. Photo by James Rudd.

Ilkeston RUFC's Stephen Fowkes (right) gets up at a line-out during the match with Towcestrians. Photo by James Rudd.

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Ilkeston’s run of poor form continued on Saturday when a visit to Towcester resulted in their third defeat in a row.

Midlands One (East)

Towcestrians 43

Ilkeston 5

Ilkeston’s run of poor form continued on Saturday when a visit to Towcester resulted in their third defeat in a row.

The confidence and decisiveness shown before the Christmas break seems to have deserted the side and another well below-par performance gifted the home side the easiest of victories.

There were some mitigating factors, such as the absence of several key players and the loss of Gordon Pringle after 17 minutes and Dan Taylor and Tom McKelvey early in the second-half.

When Ben Wells was forced off the visitors were left to play the last 20 minutes with 14 men. During this period Towcestrians took full advantage of the extra man and the stretched Elks conceded three tries.

From the start the home side used their knowledge of the sloping pitch to pin the Elks inside their own half.

Towcestrians play a limited but effective game employing the forwards to pick and drive or roll mauls. The Elks were drawn into a close quarter game for which they were ill equiped.

Fifteen minutes in Towcestrians opened their account. From a line-out on the 22 the forwards mauled the ball infield, sucking in the Ellks midfield.

When the ball was released Williams found space in a stretched defence and fed Bodilyn who scored at the posts. Falvey converted to give them a 7-0 lead.

The Elks response was immediate when a penalty earned at the restart was put into the corner by Joel Haigh.

Pete Garland secured the ball and fed Steve Quinn who drove for the line. The ball was won at the ruck but turned over in midfield allowing Towcestrians to clear their lines to touch.

Dan Mahoney’s quick throw in found Haigh who broke infield. He linked with Quinn, McKelvey and Stephen Fowkes to stretch play across the pitch. The ball was spun back and JJ Connollys long pass gave Dan Taylor the opportunity to sidestep his way into the corner to put the Elks on the board at 7 - 5 19 mintues in.

The try galvanised the visitors as they embraced the physical challenge and enjoyed a 20 minute period when they looked as though the game could be won.

But having established a platform the good work was undone in first-half injury-time when failure to secure their own ball at the breakdown leading to turnovers gave Towcestrians two tries in three mintues, the first to Kirby, converted by Falvey, and the second to Williams, making it 19-5 at half-time.

The Elks started the second half brightly and should have scored at the posts two minutes in when Connolly jinked his way through only to be stopped just short when a pass to support players would have secured a try.

The visitors continued to exert pressure and Mahoney’s strong run with support from Josh Meakin and Fowkes should have produced a score but yet again the ball was turned over close to the line.

That was close as the Elks got as Towcestrians then took charge of the game.

As the injuries mounted Ilkeston lost shape and confidence and rarely looked like rescuing the situation.

A try by Wilkinson 15 minutes into the half, converted by Falvey, took the score to 26-5 and when Wells was forced off with concussion the mountain became too big to climb and further tries from George, with two, and Wilkinson, converted by Falvey, took the final score to 43-5.

There were few bright moments for the Elks with the exception of the youngster Meakin, whose scrummaging and general work around the park showed that he is ready to establish himself in the starting line up.

To put in such a consumate performance in a generally poor team speaks volumes about his ability and attitude.

Classic Man of the Match Joel Haigh