Old Northamptonians 29
Ilkeston’s disappointing start to the season continued on Saturday as they fell to defeat at Old Northamptonians.
Having lost their opening day fixture at home to Newark, the Elks were well beaten in this encounter with only Joel Haigh’s penalty to show for their efforts.
A poor first-half was their undoing, the hosts scoring 24 of their points to give Ilkeston too much of a mountain to climb.
Elks began brightly, winning line-outs and forcing the hosts back, before ONs gradually gained the upper hand with their back row in particular starting to dominate.
They took the lead when Elks had a line-out deep in their own 22m but the ball was scrappy and bounced loose. The ONs hooker was quickest to react and registered the first score on 18 minutes which was converted to make it 7-0.
Elks produced a good response with a break from Haigh, carried on by Jake Smithurst and ONs were caught offside, giving Haigh his first shot at goal which was successful to reduce the deficit to 7-3 on 21 minutes.
The rest of the half was dominated mainly by ONs who ran in three further tries, converting one of these to make it 24-3 at half-time.
Elks will be very disappointed with some of the tackling especially around the fringes of rucks and mauls allowing ONs too much easy territory.
Another blow for the Elks was an injury to Haigh forcing him off after 32 minutes, Jake Lamb moved to scrum half and Jack Partington came on at fly half.
Elks were much better in the second-half with Chris Tipton taking many clean line-outs and Greg Taylor running strong with brother Lewis supporting him.
The effort was there but a combination of strong defence and poor tactical decision-making meant that Elks had very few try scoring opportunities.
Tom Pottinger came on for Jack Wilkinson and Ben Wells replaced Tom Holland during the second-half.
Strong running from Matt McGuire, Bennett and Wells made good ground for Elks but ONs’ aggressive defence was too strong on the day and they ran in a further try on 65 minutes, spreading play right then left and finding a two-man overlap to run in unchallenged.
This was another disappointing day for the Elks with poor tackling around the breakdown a concern.
It doesn’t get any easier this Saturday, as Paviors visit the Stute for a 3pm kick-off.
There is a pre-match lunch before the game with tickets still available, 12.30pm meet for 1pm lunch.