Despite suffering another defeat, Ilkeston were pleased with a much-improved performance in their second match of the new Midlands 1 East season in the National League.
Elks led at half-time, thanks largely to a sterling effort from the forwards, most notably man-of-the-match Chris Tipton. But they were undone in the second half and fell 36-15 to an impressive display by dominant Old Northamptonians, who will surely be in the top two come the end of the campaign.
The home side also trailed early on in the game as a terrific counter-attack saw ONs surge into a 7-0 lead and then add another try in the 16th minute, with Elks’ only response being a cleanly-struck penalty by Jack Crabtree.
However, they turned a 12-3 deficit into a 15-12 advantage by the interval as Joe Marsden darted through a gap to score and take advantage of a yellow card for ONs, and after Crabtree had added the extras, a second try was registered by Luke Bayliss, who dived over at the end of a fine move involving Tom Pottinger, Marsden and Crabtree.
Sadly, ONs turned on the heat in the second period, bossing possession and soon camping in the Elks 22. Within two minutes, they were 19-15 up and it wasn’t long before they were punishing basic passing and handling errors by the hosts. Two more tries followed, in the 64th and 68th minutes, and as the Elks pack started to tire, the scoring was completed by a penalty try that was converted.