Ilkeston maintained their position at the top of the Midlands One East table with a comfortable 38-3 win over Newark on Saturday.
The Elks defied the late withdrawal of the influential Simon Bennett through illness before the match to put on a fine display of committed, fierce rugby away from home.
Ilkeston put the pressure on early on and went 3-0 up on five minutes when a penalty on the Newark 22 saw Joel Haigh open the scoring.
The first try came on the nine minute mark, when a mix of good handling and quick pick and drives from the forwards found the Ilkeston pack marauding up the left hand side and Steve Quinn going over, converted by Haigh, to bring the score line to 0-10.
The Elks were attacking at will with confidence high and their second try came on 17 minutes.
A poor clearance kick saw Paul Shoebridge secure the line-out ball. Setting up the catch and drive, Adam Corcoran claimed the score out wide which was mercilessly converted by Haigh, who was crushing Newark’s spirit with his fine kicking display.
Newark registered their first and only points on 32 minutes when scrappy play by the Elks saw Newark use a cross kick finding Ilkeston offside, the penalty converted to take the score 3-17, which despite a good end to the half from the hosts was the score at the break.
The Elks were quickly into their stride in the second-half and extended their lead within two minutes.
Newark won a lineout and punched up the middle, then back blind, where Dan Taylor made a superb tackle on the winger leaving brother Lewis to pick up and run in the corner.
Haigh was again on hand to convert to make it 3-24.
Newark’s woe continued as they put a penalty wide of the posts and Ilkeston would punish them with another score with 20 minutes remaining.
A turnover close to the line saw Haigh, Alex Ayres and Greg Taylor all combine to feed Dan Taylor cutting back inside on a quality line to go over for the try.
Haigh again showed no mercy with the conversion and the score was now 3-31.
The scoring was rounded off ten minutes later.
A catch and drive by Newark was disrupted by Josh Meakin who stole the ball from a poor maul coming straight through the heart, and the ball was passed wide through all three Taylor brothers to Ayres who scored in the corner.
Haigh could do no wrong and true to form converted the score to seal Ilkeston’s victory.
Man of the Match was Joel Haigh.