AN Ilkeston side missing 12 first-team regulars fell 20-14 at Market Rasen & Louth on Saturday.
Midlands One (East)
Market Rasen & Louth 20
by Sean Ryan
ILKESTON RUFC fell to their third defeat of the season in Lincolnshire – though with 12 regulars either injured or unavailable victory was always going to be a big ask.
To come away with a losing bonus point was some consolation for a young side who on the day were full of energy and ambition but short of forward power and experience.
Conceding huge weight advantage the Elks pack strugggled in the tight and had no answer to Rasen’s main attacking weapon, the driving maul, from which they scored one try through Cole and created another for Harvey.
The visitors took time to get over the long journey and conceded two tries in the first ten minutes.
The first came from Neesham when Rasen fielded a poor clearance kick and took advantage of a lack of chase to counter. Good support and poor tackling gave them the space to score close to the posts. Grint added the extras to make it 7 - 0 after just four minutes.
The Elks went further behind six minutes later when a line-out close to the line was driven, sucking in the defence and giving Harvey space to squeeze into the corner to stretch the lead to 12-0.
The Elks at last came to life after 16 minutes when Scott Rudkin fielded a kick and moved the ball infield to SImon Bennett.
He in turn found Marc Moore who linked with Tom Hicks and his finely timed pass set Lewis Taylor on a sprint to the corner. JJ Connolly converted to put the Elks back in the game at 12-7.
Finding some rhythm the visitors began to put some phases together.
Eliott Gwynne’s turnover inside his own 22 allowed Connolly, Ben Gatehouse and Tom McKelvey to put Pete Smith into space.
He side-stepped a first defender, swerved around a second and sped clear from half way to score under the posts. Connolly’s conversion gave the Elks the lead for the first tme at 12-14.
As the half wore on the weight advantage began to count as Rasen tightened their game and kept the ball amongst the forwards.
The task was made harder when hooker Moore was yellow carded, reducing the Elks to 14 men.
Rasen took immediate advantage when they put the penalty into the corner, secured the line out and mauled over for Cole to claim the try and restore their lead to 17-14.
The second-half produced just one score when Grint slotted a penalty 20 minutes in to stretch Rasen’s lead to 20-14.
The contrasting styles held sway with Rasen keeping the ball tight and the Elks moving the ball wide at every opportunity.
A second yellow card, this time for Alex Ayres, meant the visitors were forced to play the last ten minutes with 14 men and despite throwing caution to the wind and moving every piece of ball acquired, the home side hung on to claim the victory.
Man of the match - Tom McKelvey.