Elks enjoy home victory over Derbyshire rivals

Ilkeston players (in green) try to stop a Matlock opponent from making ground during the victory at The Stute on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.
Ilkeston players (in green) try to stop a Matlock opponent from making ground during the victory at The Stute on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.

This eagerly awaited clash between county rivals lived up to expectations and provided plenty of twists and turns at the Stute on Saturday.

Midlands One (East)

Ilkeston RUFC 38

Matlock 18

This eagerly awaited clash between county rivals lived up to expectations and provided plenty of twists and turns at the Stute on Saturday.

On a day when the club marked Terry Keely’s 50-year involvement with the Elks, the players’ performance on the field matched the party atmosphere of a large crowd and ensured a vastly enjoyable day for the home supporters.

The victory was built on the Elks forwards’ whose contribution was immense as they not only matched but eventually dominated their opposite numbers, earning apenalty try and a further three from driving mauls.

From the kick-off, a flowing move through numerous phases took play close to the Matlock line.

Receiving quick ball from the ruck, Joel Haigh spotted a gap and darted over close to the posts. Jono Falls’ conversion gave the Elks a 7-0 lead with only two minutes gone.

From the re-start Matlock applied pressure but could not find a way through a resolute defence where Ben Gatehouse, Greg Taylor and Alex Ayres made telling contributions.

Having absorbed the pressure Falls instigated a breakout and linked with Lewis Taylor, Josh Meakin and SimonBennett to earn a line-out inside the Matlock 22.

Steve Fowkes secured the throw and the forwards mauled towards the line. The visitors collapsed the maul and the referee had no option but to award a penalty try which Falls converted to move the score to 14-0 just 15 minutes in.

From the re-start Matlock put themselves back in the game when Young charged down an attempted Gatehouse clearance, regathered the ball and scored wide out to make it 14-5.

They then reduced the arrears to 14-8 with a Young penalty on the stroke of half time.

The Elks were first on the scoresheet in the second half when Pete Smith and Greg Taylor combined to earn a penalty close to the posts.

Ignoring the easy three points, Haigh put the ball into the corner, Bennett took the throw, the forwards rumbled over the line and Gatehouse emerged to claim the try giving the Elks a 19-8 lead.

Fifteen minutes in Young slotted his second penalty wide out to move Matlock closer at 19-11, and minutes later a promising attack from the Elks ended in disaster when Matlock’s winger intercepted inside his own 22 and raced cear to score between the posts.

Young’s conversion brought Matlock to within one point at 19-18.

A Matlock infringement at the restart allowed Haigh to put the ball into the corner. The recipe for the previous try was repeated with Adam Corcoran claiming the score. Haigh added the extras to give the Elks a 26-18 lead.

The final quarter was all the Elks with two further tries added. The first from Greg Taylor started deep inside theirown half as Steve Quinn, Ellis Hallam, Ayres and Smith swept play into the Matlock 22 and Greg Taylor’s well-timed run put him over in the coner.

At 31-18 Matlock struggled to find a way back and a second interception could have gifted them a try but Smith was on hand to rescue the situation.

The final try of the game also started deep in the Elks half. Paul Shoebridge, who had replaced Tom McKelvey, turned the ball over and sent Smith sprinting away. He linked with Dan Mahoney and Lewis Taylor to set up a ruck inside the 22.

Haigh was on hand to feed Gatehouse and his reverse flick gave Quinn the space to crash over.

Haigh’s conversion left it 38-18 at the final whistle.

Classic Drinks Man of the Match - Steve Fowkes.