After successfully qualifying for the Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire Cup competition way back in November Ilkeston this Sunday travelled the short distance to Nottingham to play matches against the strongest teams in the three counties.
After watching the match between Newark A and Spalding the players all understand the magnitude of todays challenge as there was an obvious size difference from players of neighbouring counties against their Derbyshire counterparts. The Elks first match was against Spalding. The black and reds were already established as favourites for the whole competition and from the offset immediately applied pressure on the Ilkeston forwards from the kick off. The Spalding scrum half very soon dictated the way his team was going to function and broke around the base of the scrum to score in the corner. The penalty moves of the opposition mixed up the game as they mesmerised the Ilkeston players with the scrum half again drifting in. Only the strong tackling and great team spirit ensured that Ilkeston turned round only 2 tries down. Half time Ilkeston 0 Spalding 10.
The second half was a mirror of the first as Spalding continued to drive at Ilkeston. Key tackles were made by every player, the forwards presented opportunities for the backs and Ilkeston had their moments but predominately they lived of scraps and even though Spalding scored a further two tries the Ilkeston players displayed a great performance against a very good well drilled team who had to work hard for their win. Final score Ilkeston 0 Spalding 20.
A brief interlude followed and then Ilkeston played their final pool game against Newark A. Again size prevailed as Newark cemented their authority with two quick tries. Ilkeston were already looked at an uphill struggle but they showed their metal through rallying from captain Isaac Smith and started to compete. The forwards provided very strong scrummage work with Aidan Norris
and Robbie Boddington
shining, the introduction of Jordan Rathbone at number 8 offered opportunities of his handling skills with Scrum Half Ben Middleton
. The tackles continued to happen as the Newark tsunami battered the Centres Cameron Greenfield
and Joseph Doughty. Winger Zack Lebeter
tried all through the game to match his opposite number, his counterpart Niall O'Connor
continued his great development. The tackle of the day was performed by Full Back Frank Hemingray
with an oncoming juggernaut of a prop he faced up to his responsibility and bundled the player to the floor, a try scoring tackle!! Unfortunately Newark were to run in a further three unanswered tries to finish winners. Final score Ilkeston 0 Newark A 25.
Under no circumstances do the scores from both games reflect the performance of the young Ilkeston players who battled their hearts out giving everything to the cause. The achievement of qualification in the first place was a momentous achievement and should not be over looked.
Man of the match:-
Forwards - Aidan Norris
& Robbie Boddington
Backs - Niall O'Connor
& Cameron Greenfield
, Alfie Cox
, Ben Middleton
, Cameron Greenfield
, Connor Connelley
, Conor Corrigan, Frank Hemingray
, Isaac Smith, Jack Walker
, James Thorpe
, Joseph Doughty, Jordan Pritchett, Jordan Rathbone, Luke Moore, Niall O'Connor
, Robbie Boddington
, Zack Lebeter