Loughborough Women’s 1st XV put in a dominant second half display to overcome a strong Durham side 19-0 on Wednesday 27 November. Dom Dyer was there for Label Sport.
With bright sunshine and clearless skies, conditions could not have been more suited to an attacking style of rugby and this was the way the game began, with both teams throwing the ball around early.
However, it was defence that seemed to come out on top in a first half with very few clean line breaks. Durham started the stronger of the two sides, with their forward pack getting on top of Loughborough early forcing many turnovers at the scrum and the breakdown.
Loughborough were being starved of possession, and handling errors crept into their game when they did get their hands on the ball, which only served to increase Durham’s pressure and dominance on the game. Unfortunately for Durham, they could not turn pressure into points as Loughborough’s watertight defence refused to buckle
Once the storm was weathered, Loughborough gradually started to find a foot-hole in the game and in one of their first forays into Durham’s 22, they managed to score the game’s first points with some clever hands resulting in the outside centre barging her way over in the corner.
The resulting conversion slipped wide and Durham came again after Loughborough spilled the restart, but they could still not find a way through Loughborough’s defence as the hosts entered the break with a narrow 5 point lead.
After the break however, Loughborough were the side on the front foot and crossed under the posts for the game’s second try almost immediately, with the scorer again being the outstanding outside centre.
Now with a 12 point advantage, Loughborough had breathing space and they began to exert their authority on the game, enjoying the lion’s share of possession, in stark contrast to the first half. As Durham’s defence began to tire from Loughborough’s increasing pressure, more gaps started to appear, with Loughborough breaking through the gain line on numerous occasions with the Durham full back pulling off some fine, try-saving tackles.
However, Durham’s defence finally gave way following heavy pressure five meters out, resulting in the scrum half diving over to make it 19-0 to the home side. Durham tried to grab a consolation late on, but it was to no avail as Loughborough saw out the remainder of the game to keep a despondent Durham outfit try-less.