Elks face play-off final after emphatic win

Steve Quinn charges through the Spalding defence during the 78-10 victory at the Stute on Saturday.
Steve Quinn charges through the Spalding defence during the 78-10 victory at the Stute on Saturday.
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Ilkeston secured a play-off final appearance at Worcester Wanderers with a commanding 78-10 victory over Spalding on Saturday.

The result secured second place in the league, overtaking Peterborough Lions who lost their winner-takes-all title clash at Bedford Athletic.

The Elks put the pressure on from the off and took the lead just three minutes in, as a line-out was won by Stephen Fowkes and Joel Haigh fed Greg Taylor to sprint clear and score, Haigh converting for 7-0.

The next try came on eight minutes when Hugh Smith and Jake Lamb combined for the latter to score unconverted.

One-way traffic continued, Haigh feeding Steve Quinn to score on 19 minutes, converted by Haigh for 19-0.

Spalding scored to reduce the arrears to 19-5, but from the kick-off Jonathan Falls countered and beat two defenders before passing to Taylor who scored unconverted to make it 24-5.

The next try followed almost immediately as Dan Mahoney made progress before finding Lamb who in turn found Taylor to spring clear and score under the posts, Haigh converting for 34-5.

There was then a debut try for 18-year-old Jacob Heath, who sprinted clear to score his first try on 30 minutes, converted by Haigh.

There was still time for another before half-time, Taylor finding space to score on 34 minutes, Haigh unable to convert.

The second-half followed much the same pattern as the first, with Elks dominating play.

Haigh soon had control and he fed Alex Ayres who found Taylor to again run in unchallenged on 42 minutes, Haigh converting to make it 50-5.

Straight away Elks were camped in Spalding’s half, Falls offloading for Heath to score his second try on 45 minutes, converted again by Haigh.

Spalding were allowed through to score unconverted on 55 minutes to make it 57-10, but normal service was soon resumed when Lamb went over again on 64 minutes, converted by Haigh for 64-10.

Elks then produced their best rugby of the second-half as a move involving most of the team ended with Falls running in unchallenged, converted by Haigh to make it 71-10 after 76 minutes.

The final try came on 78 when Spalding were penalised at the breakdown and Ayres took a quick tap and ran through to score after 78 minutes, converted again by Haigh to leave the final score 78-10.

Man-of-the-match: Greg Taylor.