Elks win crucial clash to go top of the league

Jonathan Down (second from left) arrives on the scene to help out against Old Northamptonians on Saturday.
Jonathan Down (second from left) arrives on the scene to help out against Old Northamptonians on Saturday.

Ilkeston emerged victorious from the battle of the top two sides on Saturday as Old Northamptonians were beaten 15-8 at The Stute.

The result put the hosts top of the league with just four games to play and was the second crucial victory in two games following the success at Matlock the week before.

The visitors pressed well at the start but Ilkeston notched the first score ten minutes in when they won a penalty at the breakdown and Joel Haigh kicked through the uprights to give the home side a 3-0 lead.

The Elks were then penalised again at the scrum on 27 minutes, and a quick tap was taken and good ground made.

The ball was recycled quickly and moved to the right where good passing put ONs in at the corner. This was unconverted to give them a 5-3 lead which was probably a fair reflection of the opening half hour.

Northamptonians attacked again and won a penalty on 32 minutes but this was missed to the right and Ilkeston survived, but another penalty five minutes later saw the visitors easily extend their lead to 8-3.

It was a tough battle for the Elks, especially playing uphill, and they were perhaps relieved to get to the break only 8-3 down, although Haigh just missed a tough kick at goal before the whistle.

Elks now had the slope and came out firing in the secondhalf, going ahead just five minutes in.

A loose kick was well fielded by Jonathan Falls who fed Greg Taylor. He then went on a fantastic run to cover 60 metres and score under the posts on 51 minutes, which brought great cheers from the large home crowd.

Haigh converted to put Elks 10-8 ahead.

After the first half when ON`s kicked poorly they used their driving maul more in the second-half but the hosts stood firm.

The win was eventually sealed on 78 minutes.

A line out was taken clean by Jonathan Down and Elks drove towards the line but weredragged down by ONs who were penalised.

Elks opted for the scrum as they looked to seal the win and drove forward, Corcoran breaking from the base and bouncing off the first tackler to crash over unconverted and make it 15-8 which was how it finished.

Man-of-the-match went to Greg Taylor.

A respite from League rugby this weekend as Elks visit Paviors in the NLD semi-final.