Midlands One East
Belgrave 8 Ilkeston 27
Ilkeston travelled the short distance to Leicester to face newly-promoted Belgrave, where a confident first-half sealed a comfortable win despite the second period not being quite as impressive.
Elks made a bright start and an early break from Chris Tipton took them to the Belgrave 22 where the ball was lost when knocked on. Belgrave counter-attacked but this was immediately turned over and a break by Jack Partington and Jake Lamb led to a try for Tom Pottinger after three minutes, Jono Falls missing the extras to leave the score 5-0 to the visitors.
The lead was increased just six minutes later when Tipton took clean line out ball and Alex Ayres crashed up in midfield. Tom Southall kept the move going and fed Pottinger who drew the last defender and fed Heath to score after nine mins, extras added by Falls to make it 12-0.
Belgrave then had a good five minutes capped by a penalty to reduce the arrears to 12-3 after 20 minutes.
From the kick-off Belgrave caught and kicked long and Heath counter-attacked.
The ball was quickly recycled and moved left, where good hands through the back line put Falls into space and he scored in the left corner after 24 mins, the extras missed making it 17-3 to the Elks.
Belgrave kicked off and Elks knocked on allowing Belgrave some decent territory, but tempers flared at the next breakdown and Dan Hyams and the Belgrave number nine were both yellow carded.
Elks cleared their lines and from the ensuing line out caught and drove forward. The ball was moved left and Belgrave halted the move illegally, Elks kicked to the corner and Tipton caught well and the ball was mauled forward. It was stopped just short of the line but Southall picked up and went blind to score in the corner after 32 minutes. Falls missed the conversion to make it 22-3.
Elks then received another yellow card on 36 minutes when Tipton was judged to have taken a Belgrave player out following a chip forward.
Elks continued to fall foul of the referee and conceded several penalties. This allowed Belgrave to pin the Elks down on their own line, and after several pick and drives they were eventually rewarded with a score on 39 minutes, the conversion missed meaning Ilkeston led 22-8 at the break.
The second half deteriorated into stop start play littered with mistakes and penalties from both sides, including another yellow card apiece.
The only highlight of the second-half for the Elks was left until the final minute when the Belgrave scrum was disrupted and the ball turned over, quick hands moved the ball right and set up Heath for his second try, the extras missed making the final score 27-8.
The man of the match award went to Jacob Heath for his brace of tries and some great counter-attacking play from full-back.
This weekend sees a visit from Bugbrooke, kick-off 3pm.