Sub Bennett inspires Elks to victory at Coalville

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Coalville 5 Ilkeston 25

Ilkeston defied ugly weather and stubborn hosts to claim five points from their trip to Coalville on Saturday.

For much of the first 40 minutes the rugby matched the weather - dank and miserable - as two well drilled sides played through the phases and largely negated one another and it was all square at the half way mark.

The half was sandwiched by two tries, one for each side. The visitors, enjoying a rare sortie into their hosts 22, created space wide for Jacob Heath to skip past the defence to score after some good work by the pack to set the opportunity up.

On the stroke of half-time the Elks’ continued tendency to infringe at the breakdown finally cost them as Coalville spurned a kickable penalty, went for touch in the corner and a classic catch and drive from the resulting line out witnessed them draw level.

Ilkeston thought they had taken the lead early in the second-half when Hugh Smith worked hard to cross the line, only for the referee to deem the ball knocked on after being grounded short, photographic evidence later proving him to be wrong.

Jono Falls’ penalty put Ilkeston in front after Coalville were reduced to 14 ment, before Simon Bennett, relegated to the bench after sustaining an injury during the warm up, replaced Jake Smithurst at the restart and must have recovered well as he proceeded to put in a man of the match performance that drove his side to victory.

Less than five minutes later Ilkeston’s growing dominance and confidence was again rewarded as good retention saw Ryan Mills receive the ball at pace to crash over for a try, Falls converting for a 15-5 lead.

Two further tries followed which were almost mirror images of one another.

A second yellow card and penalty saw the Elks move from their 22 to the opposition 22 and Jake Lamb easily found touch. Having won so much Coalville line out ball Ilkeston found little difficulty in securing their own and the drive that followed met little resistance, the only surprise being that it was Bennett who touched down at the base rather than Adam Corcoran.

And similar followed as another ball was won, another drive was met by little resistance and again it was Bennett who touched down to complete the scoring.

This Saturday sees Ilkeston host local rivals Derby at the Stute with a 3pm kick-off.