Ilkeston’s good run of form came to an abrupt halt on Saturday as struggling Peterborough recorded a surprise 14-10 victory.
Despite several late changes to the pack on the day which disrupted the team - Ben Wells, Steve Quinn, Stephen Fowkes, Josh Meakin and Jake Smithurst all missing - the Elks still had enough territory and possession to win the game but were well short of their usual high standards of play.
A scrappy opening dictated the theme for much of the afternoon and it took 11 minutes for the deadlock to be broken by the home side.
From a line-out, Peterborough drove towards the line but the maul was held up. A quick tap penalty from the hosts saw them force their way over for the try which was converted for a 7-0 lead.
Ten minutes later the lead was doubled after a further spell of Ilkeston making mistakes and Peterborough gaining ground.
After winning a scrum the Elks knocked on and from the Peterborough scrum their number eight picked up and made good ground, before the ball was re-cycled and the hosts broke through the defensive line where support was on hand to score on 24 minutes and with a successful conversion it was 14-0.
This was a fair reflection as far too many mistakes were beingmade by the Elks.
From the kick-off Elks worked their way down the pitch and finally had some decent ball in the opposition 22.
Following good work by Ryan Mills the Elks were held up short but recycled well and moved the ball left to score through Matt McGuire on 30 minutes, well converted by Joel Haigh to make it14-7.
Elks smelled blood and Haigh was held up just short of the line minutes later, and before the break Ilkeston looked like scoring down the right but a forward pass was given.
The Elks started the second-half with the advantage of a slight wind and hoping to turn things around.
But despite seeing plenty of possession and territory the Elks were struggling with any cohesion due to poor passing and handling.
Jack Wilkinson was sin-binned during the half for going off his feet - a harsh decision given he was hit from behind and had no real option - although the hosts were unable to take further advantage.
A penalty on 65 minutes from Haigh reduced the arrears and made it 14-10 but although the majority of the last 15 minutes were spent in the Peterborough half, Ilkeston could not make any real chances due to the poor quality of the ball handling and the hosts held out for victory.
Man of the Match - Ryan Mills.