Ilkeston travelled to Bugbrooke on Saturday and despite seeing plenty of ball failed to penetrate a stubborn defence, eventually going down 19-5.
Elks began brightly, stealing a line-out and Jake Smithurst driving into the Bugbrooke 22, accidental offside giving Bugbrooke the chance to clear.
Individual errors were to cost Ilkeston dearly all game - another chance wasted when DanTaylor made a break and the ball was moved left but play was halted for a forward pass.
The Elks were becoming frustrated with their own mistakes but nearly took the lead when Alex Ayres counter attacked, the ball was moved right and found Isaac Taylor in space but he was bundled into touch short of the line.
Elks were having the lion’s share of possession but the Bugbrooke defence was solid with first time tackles being well made.
Bugbrooke had few opportunities in the first-half but got the vital first score when they moved the ball right, their winger chipped over the defence and showed great speed to round the defenders and gather the bouncing ball and run in under the posts, extras added to make it 7-0 after 36 minutes, which is how it remained at half-time.
Elks turned round with a slight wind at their backs hoping to get back into the game, but the theme of the first-half carried on when Elks knocked on trying to force things.
Elks worked hard and got into the Bugbrooke 22 with Greg Taylor but again the ball was knocked on, and to make things worse it was then played by an Elks player who was offside. Bugbrooke took a quick tap and moved the ball right, their winger was given space and he out-sprinted the defence to score his second try after 48 minutes, extras added to make it 14-0.
Bugbrooke then had a line-out near half way which was stolen and the ball moved right. Ayres made an incisive break and fed Greg Taylor who carried the move on, he then fed Jono Falls to score. Extras were missed making it 14-5 after 53 minutes.
The hosts then scored again after a line-out was taken and the Bugbrooke pack went on a driving maul all the way to the Elks line before breaking off blind and scoring in the corner after 57 minutes, extras missed making it 19-5.
The wind noticeably increased in the second half making it difficult to run the ball, and combined with Bugbrooke’s solid defence the Elks struggled to create any scoring opportunities.
Elks finished the game in the Bugbrooke 22 forcing penalties from the home side, and as their penalty count rose they were issued a yellow card on 74 minutes for persistent infringements.
Elks made a final push with a man advantage but the defence stood strong as it had for most of the game.
Man of the match went to Dan Taylor who ran strongly all game and made the only few incisive breaks for the Elks during the match.
Saturday sees the visit of Derby to The Stute, kick-off 2.15pm.