Saturday, September 10
Midlands One (East)
Peterborough 6 Ilkeston 17
by Sean Ryan
ILKESTON continued their perfect start to the new season with a fine win away at Peterborough on Saturday.
This was the first fixture to be played between the two clubs, Peterborough having been relegated from National Three Midlands last season.
But despite the opposition being an unknown quantity, their comfortable victory over Loughborough the previous week promised they would present a stern test.
While this was the Elks’ first visit to Fengate they were comforted by one familiar feature, namely front rower Dean Chapman, who learnt his rugby with Ilkeston juniors and played for the 1st XV before his Air Force career took him to East Anglia.
With a strong wind and heavy showers the conditions did not facilitate flowing open rugby and the game, for the most part, was a question of two teams feeling their way into the season and familiarising themselves with new team mates.
The opening exhanges belonged to Peterborough as they used the elements to good effect with Low’s kicking making the Elks play from deep.
Called upon to defend, the Elks line out, scrum and all round organisation kept the line intact.
Stephen Fowkes, Simon Bennett and Adam Stoker spoiled the Peterborough throw and guaranteed that they lived on limited posession and supplied enough of Elks own ball to enable Joel Haigh and JJ Connolly to kick their way out of trouble.
The solidity of Ben Gatehouse and Elliott Gwynne and the presence of Scott Rudkin, Bennet and Fowkes bottled up the midfield while Pete Smith, Alex Ayres and Ellis Hallam denied the outside line and kept Peterborough’s chance to a minimum.
The home side should, however, have taken the lead after a breakout created an overlap but Sandsby dropped the ball with the line begging.
Having weathered the storm the Elks woke up and Connolly put a penalty to touch close to the home line. Doing the simple things well, Stoker secured the ball, the pack mauled over the line and skipper Adam Corcoran claimed a try on 33 minutes to make it 0-5 at half-time.
Within two minutes of the start of the second-half Peterborough reuced the arrears with a Low penalty bringing it to 3 - 5.
Corcoran, Ayers and Smith then combined to create a chance but Carrington was on hand to make a telling tackle, but the Elks made good use of the field position that was created to shunt a scrum forward.
Corcoran controlled at the base and touched down for his second try giving them a 3-10 lead.
Peterborough redoubled their efforts but the Elks’ defence was too well organised and repulsed wave after wave, allowing them a solitary penalty to make it 6-10, before breaking upfield to claim a scrum inside the home 22.
Joel Haigh picked from the base, dashed around the side and touched down for try converted by Connolly to leave the final score 6-17.
Man of the Match - Ben Gatehouse.
Ilkeston host Derby this weekend at The Stute, kick-off 3pm.