Elks’ unbeaten start is halted by Derby

Ilkeston RUFC's Steve Fowkes scored his second try for the club but it wasn't enough as Derby emerged victorious.
Ilkeston RUFC's Steve Fowkes scored his second try for the club but it wasn't enough as Derby emerged victorious.

Saturday, September 17

Midlands One (East)

Ilkeston 15 Derby 29

by Sean Ryan

ILKESTON fell to their first defeat of the new season on Saturday as local rivals Derby claimed victory at the Stute.

With both sides unbeaten coming into the game something had to give, and it was Derby who emerged with their 100 per cent record intact and their place at the top of the table secure.

The Elks started brightly and could have taken the lead after three minutes but JJ Connolly pushed his penalty attempt wide from 40 metres.

Six minutes in Ilkeston suffered a setback when Scott Rudkin received a yellow card, reducing the home side to 14 men.

Making the most of the extra man Derby launched an attack from a line out on the halfway line. Meadows and Robertson combined to set up a ruck close to the line and Wilmott was on hand to pick up and dive over.

Meddings’ conversion gave the visitors a 7-0 lead with ten minutes gone.

Derby were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and the Elks were forced to launch attacks from deep with the limited ball they did have.

Joel Haigh, Connolly and Ben Gatehouse tried manfully to unlock a tight Derby defence and Ellis Hallam, Elliott Gwynne and Lewis Taylor sought space on the outside but were denied by determined tackling.

As the end of the half approached Rudkin, Ryan Mills and Steve Fowkes drove play into the Derby half to earn a penalty but Connolly’s shot fell short.

From the re-start the Elks were caught napping when Robertson broke from deep, linked with Hutchinson and put Stringer into the corner making it 12-0 to Derby at the break.

Playing into the slope and the breeze the Elks started the second-half with intent and urgency and scored their first try early on.

Gwynne, Alex Ayers and Gatehouse combined to take play deep inside the Derby half to earn a scrum. Marc Moore secured the ball and Connolly moved it wide, before a half break from Taylor found support from Rudkin who in turn offloaded to Fowkes and he stormed clear to score under the posts.

Connolly reduced the arrears to 7 - 12 with the conversion.

But basic mistakes gifted Derby their next score when failure to find touch allowed the visitors to counter and poor tackling gave Robertson a try converted by Meddings.

Connolly slotted a penalty to take the score to 10 - 19 but further tries from Robertson and Stringer then stretched Derby’s lead 10-29.

As the final whistle approached the Elks launched one final attack. Adam Stoker and Moore linked with Jake Lamb to earn a penalty on half way. Connolly put the ball in the corner and Graham Chenoweth secured the line out and the ball was driven forward.

As the line approached Mills peeled off and forced his way over to make the final score 15-29.

Man of the match Lewis Taylor.

Results for September 17: Bedford Athletic 19-10 Kettering, Ilkeston 15-29 Derby, Leighton Buzzard 21-37 Peterborough, Loughborough 23-13 Towcestrians, Market Rasen & Louth 36-10 Spalding, Matlock 36-27 Paviors, Nuneaton Old Edwardians 27-69 Coalville.

Fixtures for September 24: Derby v Leighton Buzzard, Kettering v Matlock, Loughborough v Ilkeston, Paviors v Nuneaton Old Edwardians, Peterborough v Market Rasen & Louth, Spalding v Bedford Athletic, Towcestrians v Coalville