Despite outscoring the opposition by five tries to three, poor discipline at the breakdown was clinically punished as Huntingdon’s kicker put in a 100 per cent performance with the boot to help them register a 36-31 victory over
Ilkeston on Saturday.
It took the hosts just five minutes to open the scoring after Elks were penalised for a high tackle, the Huntingdon full-back duly kicking the long distance penalty, quickly followed by another to put the hosts 6-0 up.
This fired the Elks into a good response and Jacob Heath soon ran in their first try after good work by Alex Ayers and Greg Taylor, Jono Falls missing the extras.
But Elks continued to give away penalties and two more were put between the posts to leave Huntington 12-5 up on 24 minutes.
Once again, Elks bounced back well and when Tom Hicks broke through and was stopped short, Ayres was on hand to crash over and make it 12-10, the conversion again missed.
Elks came straight back from the kick-off through Joel Haigh and Tipton and the ball was passed to Heath who drew his man and fed Hugh Smith toscore, this time Falls kicking the difficult conversion to give Elks the lead at 17-12 after 34 minutes.
But Huntington were to turn the game around by half-time and once again it was through penalty kicks, one tough and one much easier to make it 22-17 at half-time, Greg Taylor also having been yellow carded.
Elks now had the wind advantage in the second-half and soon made it count when Haigh put a great box kick up which Huntingdon failed to deal with. Kartar Soar was first to grab the loose ball and fed Lamb for an easy run in, Falls with the extras to put Ilkeston back in front after 44 minutes.
Elks dealt with the kick-off but gave a penalty away at the ensuing breakdown, and from an eventual line-out the ball was recycled through three phases to create a gap for Huntingdon to score, the extras added to make it 29-24.
Huntingdon then launched an attack through the forwards and worked down to the Elks 22. Their driving maul was working well and they created another chance to score close in which was taken on 64 minutes, extras added to make it 36-24.
Again the response from Elks was good with Greg Taylor turning ball over and launching a counter attack, Haigh made a break and fed Falls to score in the corner, converting his own try to make it 36-31.
That would be the end of the scoring despite good late pressure from the hosts whose main man’s 26 point haul proved key.
Ayres, Haigh and Greg Taylor all had good performances but man of the match went to Chris Tipton who took good line out ball, carried some hard yards and worked tirelessly in the loose.
This weekend sees a break from league action and the much anticipated NLD semi-final at home against Market Rasen with a 2.15pm kick-off.