ILKESTON ........................ 21 PETERBOROUGH ............. 17
BOROUGH were once again decimated by injury, illness and unavailability yet with a patched-up side of youngsters almost managed to pull off a shock win against the inform team in Midlands Division One East.
It was the youngest first team squad ever fielded by the city side and with no recognised hooker available, flanker Alun Meadows stepped into the front row. Tom Marshall, who hasn’t played a game all season because of injury, was again on the bench to cover for the injured props.
Young backs Rich Warlow and Rob Jacobs stepped up to make their first starts for the side with Duncan Low, Tom Lucas and Mike Hogan all unavailable.
Borough played up a very steep hill in the first half and were 7-0 down after four minutes when they were caught napping by a lively home side who in their last two matches had beaten table-topping Kettering and second-placed Paviors.
The game then stopped for 30 minutes to deal with a serious injury to the Ilkeston prop.
The first half continued in much the same vain with Ilkeston using the slope well to kick for territory and Borough turning over ball when they managed to get out of their half. Ilkeston scored two more tries on 16 and 34 minutes to lead 21-0 at halftime.
With a young side and the recent run of five defeats, Borough could have capitulated. But they came out in the second half with renewed vigour and a penalty on 43 minutes from Will Carrington gave them con- fidence.
A yellow card on 49 minutes for Mark Hodges when he appeared to pull out of a late tackle seemed to slow down the Borough recovery.
When he returned, however, on 60 minutes with all three Borough replacements on the pitch, the away side started to show some of the early season intensity and urgency.
Jonny Hartwell scored a try after multiple Borough phases on 70 minutes converted by Carrington.
Borough then had the scent of victory but unfortunately were only able to get the next score on the stroke of full- time from Ben Crooks, Carrington again converting.
Another five more minutes of play or if Borough had increased the intensity earlier could have seen the youngsters emerge with a shock win.
Head coach Stuart Low said: “Coming away from Ilkeston with a bonus point after weeks with a nil return is not a bad effort.
“This young side can take pride from this outing.
“It should give us a boost to kickstart 2012 when some of the injuries will have healed over the holiday break and Borough will go into 2012 with renewed confidence.”