Strong first-half key to crucial Elks success

Adam Corcoran scored two tries  as Ilkeston won at Kettering.
Adam Corcoran scored two tries as Ilkeston won at Kettering.

Ilkeston ensured they remain firmly in the hat for a play-off place with a 20-13 victory at Kettering on Saturday.

The Elks need just a win against Spalding to secure second place, with title honours looking almost certain to have evaded them.

The Elks began well and took the lead just eight minutes in.

Steve Quinn stole a Kettering line-out and the Elks pack drove forward towards the line, Kettering were unable to stop the drive and Adam Corcoran emerged with the ball to get the first try on the board, unconverted by Jono Falls but both kickers were to struggle in the strong wind.

After another period of possession the Elks recycled quick ball and Marc Moore, Greg Taylor and Dan Taylor linked up well to free up Lewis Taylor on the wing. He showed great footwork to evade the defence and scored on 13 minutes to extend the lead to 10-0. Conversion missed.

Elks were dominating territory and possession and following a clean break by Jake Lamb he fed Lewis Taylor who put up a cross kick which bounced nicely for brother Dan to collect and score on 15 minutes. Falls missed the conversion in the windy conditions but the Elks were pushing clear at 15-0.

A penalty reduced the arrears to 15-3 soon afterwards, but Ilkeston were to register again on 33 minutes.

Having been held up th eElks were still in great field position with a five metre scrum and drove the Kettering pack backwards over the line with Corcoran gaining his second try.

Falls missed the conversion but the Elks were pushing clear with a 20-3 lead.

Elks were still giving penalties away at the breakdown and this allowed Kettering another shot at goal which was successful after 38 minutes to leave it 6-20 at half-time.

Both sides were struggling for any continuity in the difficult conditions during the second-half and knock ons were stopping most attacking opportunities.

Ilkeston were still conceding penalties and Kettering kicked to touch, where Elks were penalised at the line-out and a quick tap saw Kettering burst through to score on 70 minutes, converted to make it 13-20 with ten minutes to play.

Elks were now struggling with decision making as nerves came in to play, but Kettering seemed happy with their losing bonus point and the game petered out in the last few minutes with both sides content with the result.

After being out for 18 weeks the return of Stephen Fowkes gave the forwards a much more organised look and he picked up the man-of-the-match.