Ilkeston began the new season in style with a 45-8 win over Spalding in Lincolnshire on Saturday.
The home side had beaten Ilkeston 13-12 on the final day of last season, but revenge was sweet for the Elks as they ran in seven tries to claim the maximum five points.
Ilkeston’s superiority was evident from the early stages and they scored their opening try seven minutes in as a scrum resulted in Alex MAyres going on a storming run and the ball ending up with Jono Falls who touched down before converting his own try.
It was 12-0 after ten minutes when Falls again was the beneficiary in the corner, though this time he was unable to convert.
Ten minutes elapsed before the next score for the visitors. A penalty was kicked superbly into touch by Jake Lamb on the five-metre line and from the Elks’ throw into the line-out, a clean take resulted in Adam Corcoran barging through to score the unconverted try.
Spalding responded well and pressed hard into Ilkeston’s left corner and Dave Hankinson’s penalty soon pulled some points back for the hosts, but despite plenty of possession in the Ilkeston half they were lacking the necessary support and the score was 3-17 at half-time.
Fifty minutes in and Ilkeston stretched their lead when a penalty allowed Corcoran the chance to pick up and feed Joel Haigh who broke clear and and touched down near the posts, Falls converting to make it 3-24.
Five minutes later and the Elks were through again as pace and power from the Ilkeston side resulted in debutant Tom Pottinger going over close to the posts, Falls again doing the honours to leave Ilkeston 3-31 in front.
A pushover try from Haigh and another Falls conversion soon stretched the lead further and pace again was the key as man-of-the-match Alex Ayres profited on 72 minutes to add Ilkeston’s final try of the match, Falls once more converting.
The sizeable home crowd would finally have something to cheer in the closing minutes as from a penalty they kicked for touch, and on winning the line-out the forwards drove over with Harry Brown eventually the man to touch down, though the conversion was missed.
Late visits to the sin bin for Falls and Matt Watkins mattered litte as Ilkeston secured success at the first time of asking.
The victory leaves Ilkeston in good shape for the visit of fellow opening day winners Peterborough to The Stute on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.