Elks maintain good run with convincing victory

: Ilkeston's man-of-the-match Joel Haigh (left) prepares to launch another assault on the Market Rasen defence during Saturday's win.
: Ilkeston's man-of-the-match Joel Haigh (left) prepares to launch another assault on the Market Rasen defence during Saturday's win.
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Saturday, February 25

Midlands One (East)

Ilkeston RUFC 31

Market Rasen & Louth 12

ILKESTON recorded another bonus point win at The Stute on Saturday against very robust and dogged opponents from Lincolnshire.

Two tries from man of the match Joel Haigh and one each from Dan Taylor and Simon Bennett provided the bonus point and a sublime kicking performance from Jono Falls, with one penalty and four conversions, made up the score.

In the reverse fixture earlier in the season the Rasen forwards had dominated the game and earned them a narrow victory but it was the Elks forwards who had the upper hand this time around as they laid the foundation for the win.

Stephen Fowkes, Steve Quinn and Adam Corcoran were outstanding and their example was followed by the remainder of the pack who eagerly met the physical challenge and nullified the visitors’ main attacking weapon.

Using the wind and slope the home side took an early lead with a Falls penalty after three minutes.

From the re-start the Elks were reminded of where Rasen’s strengths lay. Johns put a penalty into the corner, Mills took the throw and the forwards rumbled over the line for Chamberlain to claim the try putting the home side 3-5 behind with only five minutes gone.

With 20 minutes gone Rasen’s defence, very stubborn up to this point finally broke.

Ben Wells and Bennett were instrumental in winning quick ruck ball providing Ben Gatehouse with space. He ghosted through a gap andand offloaded in the tackle to Dan Taylor who sped in close to the posts. Falls converted to establish a 10-5 lead.

From the re-start the Elks re-established themselves deep in Rasen territory and earned a line-out close to the line. Fowkes secured the throw and fed Haigh off the top, and the scrum half twisted and turned through a number of tackles and touched down. Falls disected the posts from wide out, stretching the lead to 17-5.

The final score of the half came courtesy of a Fowkes line-out take. The forwards mauled towards the line and Bennett peeled off to score wide out. Falls again stroked the conversion over leaving it 24-5 at halftime.

As the second-half got underway Sean Denning replaced Elliott Gwynne who had picked up an injury.

Denning was soon into the action when he combined with Falls, Tom McKelvey and Lewis Taylor to earn a scrum close to the Rasen line. Corcoran picked from the base and made hard yards before slipping the ball to Haigh whose strength and abiity to wriggle out of tackles enabled him to claim his second try. Falls made it five from five with the conversion and gave the Elks a 31-5 lead and a bonus point.

Wells suffered a damaged rib at the re-start and departed to be replaced by Gordon Pringle who had announced earlier that this was to be his final game.

The crowd’s ovation was testimony to his popularity and recognition of his exceptional service to the club, stretching back some 34 years through all age groups.

The remainder of the half was dominated by Rasen as they used the elements to good effect, pinning the Elks inside their own half.

Try as they may the visitors could not find a way through or around the Elks defence until the last minute of the game when Rasen’s perseverence was rewarded as Dearden crashed over close to the posts.

Johns’ conversion made it 31-12 but time had run out and results elsewhere saw the Elks reclaim fourth spot in the league.

Classic Drinks Man of the Match - Joel Haigh.