The game kicked off and at first the teams looked evenly matched, each having both speed and physicality within their side. Given the scores from previous matches last season it was predicted to be a close game.
Supporters gathered to back the home side after their recent loss to Huddersfield. And it didn’t take long for the Lions to capitalise on Loughborough’s mistakes at the breakdown to make the score 3-0 within the first ten minutes. Ten minutes later and déjà vu; Boden was back in front of the posts adding another 3 points to their lead.
Half an hour into the game the Lions number 13 had converted all three of his penalties and Loughborough were lucky that the deficit wasn’t more as a knock on from the Lions wing, who had the overlap, allowed the students to clear the ball down the pitch.
Captain Gareth Collins, who was influential throughout the whole game, saw space within the Loughborough defence to score the first try of the match.
The half time score could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the excellent kicking of Stuart Hall who added to his ever growing points tally by helping the students narrow the difference to eight points with two successful penalties. This made the half time score 14-6 to the Lions.
The second half started out looking as if the Loughborough students had come back onto the pitch with a purpose, with an excellent kick off by Markham. However the Lions’ line speed caused Loughborough to panic. One strength of Loughborough’s forward pack was their line-outs at which both Gareth Harris and Rob Conquest shone. There was light at the end of the tunnel for Loughborough thanks to the boot of Hall who successfully kicked another two penalties to bring the score to 14-12.
Loughborough faced attack after attack from the Lions and at the 60 minute mark the line was spread too thin after Lions repeatedly recycled the ball on the five metre line for second row Matthew Solomon to ease the Lions into a 19-12 lead.
As if kicking wasn’t enough for Hall, supporting fullback Holland helped Hall hit the white line for the first time in the game for Loughborough. However Loughborough supporters weren’t allowed to enjoy the two point difference for too long as Lions responded with another try from Collins which Boden easily converted.
Both teams had a number of opportunities which fell short due to handling errors, then when the clock said only two minutes remained, Loughborough’s fitness and speed came into full swing as last week’s player of the match Callum Wilson made a dash to the try line then sprinting back to the half way line for the kick off at the same speed.
To say the last minute was the most exciting would be an understatement; everyone held their breath as Loughborough tried for a draw but unfortunately as soon as the ball was in captain Collins hand it was kicked into touch and the derby came to an end with the final score 26-22 to the home side.
In other news the future looked bright for Loughborough Rugby with the development squad having an outstanding win against Leicester Lions 43-14. Joe Allot made his debut one to remember with a hattrick, scoring along with Keifer Laxton, Tobi Ojo, Jack Mawhinney and Tom Westwood. Promising plays and lines from the side impressed the crowd which gathered. Well done to them and we welcome them into Loughborough Rugby
Next week Loughborough Students play host to Bromsgrove. The boys thanked their supporters for coming to watch against Kendal as it made such a difference and they hope the numbers are just as great next week.
Tries: Collins 2, Solomon
Penalties: Boden 3
Tries: Hall, Wilson
Penalties: Hall 4
Leicester Lions: Collins, Marston, Boden, Cross, Dyment, Stokes, Dangerfield, Williams, Harris, Murray, Cheney, Solomon, Rudkin, Howgate, Gibbons
Replacements: Tyers, Williamson, MCLaurin, Martin, Hale
Loughborough Students: Holland, Dowsett, Kinloch, Hall, Wilson, Markham, Weir, Cunnew, Harris, Williams, McKenna, Conquest, Messum, Robinson, Silcock
Replacements: Allan, Gape, Parker, MacManus, Bowler