Ilkeston returned to winning ways with a 20-13 success at Paviors on Saturday.
Two late pack re-shuffles saw Ilkeston without captain Adam Corcoran and flanker Matt Watkins as the Elks looked to complete the triple over their old rivals.
Ilkeston kicked off into a mighty wind blowing down the length of the pitch and with just two minutes on the clock, Chris Tipton left the field for ten minutes having been adjudged to have collapsed the maul.
Ilkeston’s strong defence, was to be present and aggressive all afternoon and forced a number of turnovers, but the Elks were unable to retain the possession.
As Tipton rejoined the play with no score registered, shortly afterwards it was Paviors who drew first blood with a messy line-out in the corner scrambled over the line, but with the conversion missed on 17 minutes.
Ilkeston’s reply was swift with a great line-out take from Jake Smithurst who spun to Greg Taylor and he yet again proved too much for the Paviors defence and broke through, running in under the post on 19 minutes. Jonathan Falls converted the extras for Ilkeston to take the lead 7-5.
A number of injuries thwarted the Elks all game and shortly afterwards, Matt McGuire left the field with a nose injury, replaced by Issac Taylor who pushed Tom Pottinger into the pack for a reshuffle.
Greg Taylor made another clean break and the ball was fed to Jacob Heath who took play up to the Paviors’ 22m where Ilkeston were awarded a penalty.
A good supply of line-out ball was provided all afternoon despite the blustery conditions but no further score was to be registered by either side in the first-half. Ilkeston had started to make regular line breaks through the backs but were unable to finish things off.
Alex Ayres left the field with an ankle injury on 26 minutes, replaced by Jack Partington in the first of his two shifts of the afternoon, followed by the returning McGuire just before half-time.
With seven minutes gone in the secon- half, a rare mistake from the Ilkeston defence allowed Paviors through to score their second try, but another missed conversion meant their lead was only three points at 10-7, quickly levelled out again by a Falls penalty.
With the now sustained pressure from Ilkeston, Greg Taylor produced a repeat of his first try as he ghosted past the Paviors defence to run in under the posts, Falls converting to put Ilkeston 17-10 ahead.
Mistakes again stemmed the Ilkeston attacks, however, and a series of failed Ilkeston line-outs found them defending a Paviors line-out in their own 22m.
The Elks pack managed to steal the line-out and again the ball was spun wide and several breakdowns later, Kartar Soar was high tackled just short of the Paviors ten metre line with 4 minutes remaining.
Falls sized up the wind at his back and duly sent the ball sailing through the uprights to put a chink of daylight between the two teams, Ilkeston leading 20-10.
The final say was Paviors’ though as Ilkeston gave away a penalty on the 22m to allow them a losing bonus point, bringing the final score to 13-20.
The Elks defence undoubtedly won the game and Greg Taylor proved again to be a thorn in Paviors’ side, earning the man of the match award.
Spalding visit The Stute this Saturday, 2.15pm kick off.