Loughborough came to the Sir David Wallace building knowing they needed to win to top their league and secure a promotion for next season, and with a huge crowd gathering on the side-lines as the teams warmed up the hosts knew they had to perform. Liz Tyler was also there, watching for Label Sport.
David Wallace was packed as the game began – there was no room to move courtside and the viewing gallery was full to the rafters too. Loughborough certainly had the crowd’s support but it was Staffordshire who secured the first score.
Loughborough did not let this phase them however and as a time-out was called with three minutes of the first quarter left on the clock, the home side led 11-7. Loughborough pushed on after the stoppage and held onto their lead, ending the quarter 18-11 up.
After a fairly evenly matched first quarter, the hosts needed to break away from their guests to get into a more comfortable position. Loughborough created some great passages of play and when a time-out was called with just under six minutes left before half-time, the hosts lead 23-13.
But Loughborough let their guests back into the game and when a second time-out was called with just seven seconds remaining before the half-time break Loughborough still held the lead. However, Staffordshire had pulled themselves right back into the match – the score was 30-23 and it remained that as the half-time break came.
With Staffordshire putting Loughborough’s lead in a precarious position, the hosts came back from the half-time break with a renewed energy and notched up 13 more points before the next time-out was called, letting their opponents score only two points. But Loughborough lost grip on their lead once more and only gained three more points before the quarter ended, conceding ten to their guests. The quarter ended 48-35.
The game became a tense battle between the two sides in the fourth and final quarter, but Loughborough never lost their lead and as a time-out was called the hosts had gained double the amount of points Staffordshire had since the quarter began, the score moving on to 58-40.
From here, Loughborough started to pull away from their guests and had stretched their lead to 65-42 by the time the next time-out was called. Loughborough showed their class and immense skill in the closing minutes, notching up eight more points. As the final seconds ticked away, cheers rang out around the court, the match finishing 73-49 and meaning Loughborough had done what they came to do.
After handshakes and congratulations were given, the team gathered for a well-deserved celebration. The win today secured them a promotion for next season and gained them the Midlands 2A Division title.
The only thing that remains is to say a massive congratulations to the team, to wish them all the best for their next season and that to say that it would seem Loughborough do, in fact, walk on water.