The fourth encounter in the Big Match series saw Loughborough play rivals Leeds Met on home turf for what was expected to be a fiery contest. However, a scoreless first half and a strong Leeds performance in the second saw Loughborough firsts go down 16-6.
Leeds took the initial kick off of the game, but it wasn’t long before the ball was in the hands of Loughborough’s number 13 who made a searing run down the right wing for a good initial breakaway only to be met by Leeds defence after 50 metres.
The tables quickly turned however, with Leeds making a tactical kick exceptionally close to their try line which was superbly defended by a sliding save from Loughborough’s number 1 to prevent the ball crossing the line.
With Loughborough continuously pushing forward, things were looking promising that it would be the home side to score the first points of the game, but loose balls weren’t used to their full potential. Even a knock on from Leeds wasn’t taken advantage of, and Loughborough squandered an excellent try scoring opportunity.
A ‘disagreement’ from the two number 8’s caused some minor disruptions to the camp and a warning from the referee, much to the delight of the crowd. The game continued with Loughborough very much in their own half, this to the disappointment of the ever-growing crowd, most of which, it must be added, were dressed in luminous lycra and tutus.
With Leeds retreating quickly back in to their own half, Loughborough made good progress with their five phases. But as with most of the game the ball was once again turned over and was soon back at the other end of the pitch.
Except for a brilliant 75 metre charge by Loughborough’s #1 and a comical mis-catch from a Leeds player, there were very few things to report from the first half which ended in a 0-0 score line.
After a half time kicking competition, entered mostly by men wearing some very feminine numbers, the second half got underway. With the crowd becoming progressively louder, a try saving tackle from Loughborough prevented Leeds scoring the first points of the game.
Leeds continued to push forward and eventually broke the deadlock with a try, but no conversion. Graceful singing from the crowd didn’t appear to spur the home team on to any kind of advantage initially, but after the ball continually travelled from one end of the pitch to the other to no-one’s benefit Loughborough looked like they would score their first points.
The Leeds full back failed to catch a Loughborough up and under , which ended extremely well for the home team as they were able to score a much needed try and conversion to put them into a 6-4 lead.
Only a spectacular flying tackle prevented further scoring opportunities for Leeds. This was quickly followed by Loughborough conceding a penalty, which Leeds fortunately didn’t use to their advantage. With the intensity of the game building, based on the sourness of Leeds Met winning the last three encounters with the home side, Leeds strung together some good passes which lead to a further try. Luckily ex-Loughborough’s Nathan Walmsley couldn’t convert for the away side.
To the dismay of the crowd, Leeds seemed pulled away with two more tries. And although Walmsley was unable to manage a successful conversion, there was no way back for the Loughborough side and the match finished with a final score of Loughborough 6-16 Leeds.