Joy for Elks as first win of 2012 finally arrives

Three Ilkeston players converge on a Leighton Buzzard opponent during Saturday's victory in Buckinghamshire. Photo by Steve Draper.

Three Ilkeston players converge on a Leighton Buzzard opponent during Saturday's victory in Buckinghamshire. Photo by Steve Draper.

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Ilkeston brought their recent run of poor form to an end on Saturday with a hard-fought victory over Leighton Buzzard at Wright’s Meadow.

Midlands One (East)

Leighton Buzzard 25

Ilkeston RUFC 29

Ilkeston brought their recent run of poor form to an end on Saturday with a hard-fought victory over Leighton Buzzard at Wright’s Meadow.

In a pulsating encounter in which five tries were scored by each side, the difference between the teams was two Jonno Falls conversions.

The visitors started strongly but were unable to take advantage of their early pressure, and turnovers and penalties conceded inside the home side’s half made for a frustrating first 20 minutes for the Elks.

Having soaked up the pressure Buzzard made their first visit to the Elks’ 22 after the first quarter of the game and were instantly awarded with a try from a well-rehearsed line-out ploy. Baroux secured the ball and Wilkes peeled, found a gap and strolled over.

And a second try came on 29 minutes when Siddon stole the ball at the back of a scrum and moved the ball to Yirrell who sliced through a stretched defence to move the score onto 10-0.

As half-time approached the Elks at last found rhythm and a solid scrum enabled Steve Quinn to break from the base and feed the ball infield where swift hands from Ben Gatehouse and Alex Ayres sent Greg Taylor on a run. He beat the defence on the outside, drew covering defender Ratcliffe, and fed the ball inside to brother Lewis who touched down close to the posts to make it 10-7 following a Falls conversion.

However, failure to cope with the re-start gave Buzzard a lineout in the corner and another well-rehearsed line-out move allowed Micaus to peel around the front and score in the corner leaving the Elks trailing 15-7 at half-time.

The Elks were first out of the blocks in the second-half, assisted by the considerable slope, and fashioned a try from deep inside their own half after ten minutes.

Greg Taylor turned the ball over and fed Quinn who linked with Steve Fowkes and Josh Meakin. The ball was quickly won at the ruck and scrum-half Joel Haigh moved the ball swiftly wide where deft touches from Greg Taylor and Ben Wells gave Lewis Taylor just enough space to weave his way into the corner and make it 15-12.

The visitors took the lead for the first time five minutes later. A quick ruck fed Marc Moore who showed deft hands to link with Elliott Gwynne who in turn offloaded in the tackle to open-side Tom McKelvey who crashed over in the corner. Falls’ touchline conversion nudged the Elks into a 15-19 lead.

The lead was increased from the re-start when Simon Bennett, Moore and Fowkes drove the ball forward with the move being continued by Falls, Wells and Meakin before Gatehouse threw a long pass giving Gwynne enough space to round his man and dive into the corner to increase the lead to 15-24.

Failure, once again, to deal with the re-start allowed Buzzard back into the game with a decisive piece of running and a try by Taylor to make it 20-24 with 23 minutes left to play.

The Elks doubled their efforts and added a fifth try with five minutes remaining. Good interplay from both backs and forwards moved the ball wide to Greg Taylor whose angled run earned him a try wide out giving the visitors a 20-29 advantage.

As the game entered injury-time poor concentration and lax defending saw Buzzard also score their fifth try and set up a nervous few minutes for the visitors with the score at 25-29.

However, the Elks safely navigated the remaining time to claim victory with a bonus point.

Next week sees the Elks return to the Stute after two long road trips when they entertain Market Rasen & Louth, kick-off 2.15pm.

Classic Drinks Man of the Match – Lewis Taylor.