Action shots from the Ilkeston game
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 1 East
Old Laurentians 15
OLs produced a much improved performance, but despite outscoring Ilkeston by three tries to two, it came down to a kicking duel and, sadly for OLs, the Elks were successful with five kicks against OLs zero, writes Mike Warwick.
So despite showing that they are capable of competing at this level the match ended up with another league victory slipping away from OLs and no points to show for it.
OLs had the luxury of being able to field a side that showed just one change from the selected XV and they made the better start of the two sides.
The scrums and lineouts were going OLs’ way and one or two strong driving mauls showed their intentions of making sure the Elks didn’t have the easy run out and overwhelming victory that they had enjoyed earlier in the season.
During these opening exchanges the pattern of the game developed with OLs missing a penalty and the Elks scoring with one to lead by three points after ten minutes.
Undaunted OLs once again took the initiative and after forcing their way into the Elks 22 produced an excellent lineout which ended with No.8 Glenn Todd crashing over for the first try of the game. The conversion failed but OLs were in the lead, 5-3 after 15 minutes.
However, the celebrations were short lived when two minutes later, despite OLs winning their own scrum on the halfway line, the ball was coughed up to the Elk’s threes who ran in a gift of a try in the corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful but the Elks had snatched back the lead, 8-5. A few minutes later they put over another penalty to go into an 11-5 lead.
As the game went into the last 10 minutes of the first half the Elks’ number 12 went deliberately offside at a maul and was yellow carded; then a front rower had the same treatment after a blatant trip.
The referee, Kindy Devgun, was making his debut at this level and made it quite clear he was not going to stand for any nonsense and went on to enjoy a good game.
So with the Elks reduced to 13 men, OLs had the opportunity to stamp their authority on the game and they did by scoring two quick fire tries following strong forward drives. The first went to James Orbinson and the next went to Glenn Todd for his second of the game.
Significantly neither try was converted and with halftime beckoning OLs had a 15-11 lead. But the Elks converted another penalty in the final minute of the first half for a halftime score line showing OLs up by 15-14.
OLs weren’t able to trouble the scorer again, while the Elks scored 10 second half points to achieve a rather fortunate victory, with OLs left to consider what might have been.
The first 25 minutes of the half was devoted to each side trying to gain the initiative but with both defences in control it didn’t happen. This changed when Daz Dean was forced to leave the field with a knee injury and almost immediately the Elks were awarded a 5 metre scrum and produced a strong drive to score a pushover try, which was converted to put them ahead 21-15.
Try as they might OLs could not break down the Elks’ strong defence and just before the final whistle the visitors put over another penalty to give them a 24-15 victory.
On Saturday, OLs travel to take on high-flying Kettering, who sit two places above Ilkeston in fourth place in the league table.