Following a 67-0 away win against Edinburgh last week, Loughborough were ready for the newly promoted Durham.
An explosive start from Loughborough saw centre Newton stretching her legs up the right wing early on. Durham came out aiming to hit the home side hard, but were met by a wall of Loughborough defence all afternoon.
Loughborough’s first try came from their own strong rucking which results in a loose ball, seizing the chance Newton scored the first try of the match after just 17 minutes. Fly half Dowsett added the conversion to give Loughborough a 7-0 lead
A break from her own 22, saw number eight, Kirkby’s running at the Durham fullback to charge well past the half way mark. The backs stretched the Durham defence, shipping the ball wide for Emily Clews to score the second try of the half under the posts, 12-0 at the break.
Loughborough began the second half on the back foot as Durham came out the stronger side.
However, after a pounding tackle from Kirkby, forced a Durham knock on the ball was sent wide and some clever slice moves saw Newton score her second try of the match.
Durham’s strong start to the second half was eventually rewarded, thanks to some Loughborough indiscipline and after spending ten minutes on the Loughborough line, Durham did manage to slip through for their first score of the afternoon.
After play resumed, Loughborough were penalised heavily in quick succession gifting Durham another quick score and a possible comeback looked on the cards.
Loughborough didn’t panic though, sticking to their strengths of pace out wide, wing Clews escaping down the touchline for another score under the posts.
Loughborough restarted with some massive defensive tackles spurred on by great support from the home crowd on the 1st XV pitch. Ally Crane’s tackle earning Loughborough another penalty which, after a quick tap, Kirkby converted into more points after she carried four Durham players over the try line with her.
The final try of the game also went to the home side, as Clews cleaned up a lost ball on the Durham 22m, before creating space by shifting play blind side. Dowsett cut through for the offload back to Clews to round off an excellent 34-10 victory for the girls.
Loughborough face fierce rivals Leeds Met today.
Photography: Phil Hutchinson
Phil is a regular photographer for the Loughborough Students RFC and more of his photos can be found on his website here.