Elks overcome rivals to stay in title hunt

Adam Corcoran (with ball) aims to make progress at Matlock on Saturday. Photo by Lisa Pucknell.
Adam Corcoran (with ball) aims to make progress at Matlock on Saturday. Photo by Lisa Pucknell.

Ilkeston earned another crucial victory in their promotion push as Matlock were beaten 44-37 at Cromford Meadows on Saturday.

It was the Elks’ first ever league win at that venue and keeps them joint top of the league with Old Northamptonians who visit The Stute on Saturday.

Matlock began well and led early on through a Chris Young penalty, but Ilkeston soon had their first try as Lewis Taylor showed his pace to go over unconverted on eight minutes.

Another penalty put Matlock back in front, but Joel Haigh mirrored that to make it 8-6 to Ilkeston.

Ilkeston’s second try came on 28 minutes when a line-out was won and Adam Corcoran crashed over, again unconverted, to make it 6-13.

Young added another penalty to make it 9-13, and Matlock then took advantage of Alex Ayres being sin-binned by scoring their first try through Henri Packard, Young converting well to put his side in front.

The lead didn’t last long though, Corcoran soon going over again when a scrum was driven over the line, Jono Falls adding the extras to leave it 20-16 to the Elks at half-time.

Ilkeston initially took control in the second-half , Dan Taylor scoring the next try on 43 minutes, converted by Falls, to make it 16-27.

Dan then supplied brother Lewis with the ball for the next, the latter evading three defenders to score again, Falls converting.

Haigh was next, scoring under the posts on 52 minutes and suddenly Ilkeston were almost out of sight at 16-41.

But Matlock then fought back with 21 unanswered points to give the Elks something of a fright.

Ben Neville went over on the right on 59 minutes, converted by Young, and then scored again on 71 minutes to make it 30-41.

The Elks then began to look shell-shocked as Alex Powell was next to register on 74 minutes, converted again by Young, and suddenly the gap was just four points at 37-41.

But Ilkeston had some respite when Matlock were penalised for slowing the ball down and the visitors cleared into the Matlock half.

Elks attacked from the line-out and when Matlock were caught offside, Falls kicked the penalty to add three more crucial points and ultimately seal the win.

There were some great performances on the day but man-of-the-match was Joel Haigh who was a persistent threat to Matlock all game.