Newark stung by late penalty try as Ilkeston fight back in the Midlands Two East (North) division
Newark 1sts were stung by an injury-time penalty try as Ilkeston fought back to secure a draw in an action packed fixture in the Midlands Two East (North) division fixture.
Newark held the upper-hand for most of the contest on a cold afternoon, but, with little time left, a lapse of concentration saw Ilkeston rescue two points.
The much-changed side that made the 60-mile round trip was led by the commanding number eight Dave Garland and debutant flanker Hayden Godfrey.
Newark had the advantage in the opening stages and their domination eventually counted when Mason Coulam went down for a converted mid-way through the first-half.
Cox, who successfully converted, hit a penalty five minutes before the break to extend Newark’s advantage.
But Ilkeston continued to battle and they went over on the whistle, to reduce the deficit to five.
Conceding at half-time may have changed the mindset and mentality of the Newark players ahead of the second as the visitors came out stronger than they did in the first.
After a promising start to the second, which saw Newark show their defensive resilience, they capitalised through substitute scrum-half Findlay Tweedie, who broke clear and raced under the posts from 30 metres out.
Again, Cox was on-hand to convert.
The intensity moved up a level as the second-half aged and an Ilkeston fight-back started in the 60th minute when they went over twice in five minutes.
With the score tied at 17-17, Newark responded well and it took just two minutes for the visitors to regain the lead, which they had held for the majority of the match.
The try came from a line-out drive by hooker Jed Chapple.
Cox again landed the conversion for seemingly a match-winning advantage of 24-17.
Yet, there was a final twist during a prolonged injury-time.
Ilkeston maintained possession from their own 22 on the back of numerous penalties.
Eventually, the hosts pressure paid off and Newark were penalised at a maul in their own 22 when the referee ran under the posts to signal a penalty try and conversion.
With no time left, the match ended with the scores even, as two late tries at the end of each half rescued what could prove to be two vital points for Ilkeston, who may be looking over their shoulder at a potential relegation fight.
Overall, Newark, who scored three tries to Ilkeston’s four, will feel hard done by, but it is a lesson learned for a side who remain eighth.
Newark return to action on Saturday against fourth-placed Ashbourne, in a fixture that has been re-scheduled from early December.
A win could see the Kelham Road side climb as high as fourth, should results elsewhere go their way.
Elsewhere, Newark 2nds fell short against Paviors 2nds, as they lost 47-5 at Kelham Road.
They’ll be looking to bounce back on Saturday when they welcome Derby 3rds to Kelham Road in 2.15pm kick-off.
Newark 3rds are also back in action on Saturday after a week off.
The thirds face Moderns in a league fixture, as they hope to build on their 47-12 win over Paviors 3rds on the opening weekend of 2019.