Match Report:  Loughborough University 2nd XV vs. Newcastle University 1st XV

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Loughborough’s 2nd XV were the first to kick off Wednesday’s home action playing the blue clad Newcastle University 1s.

Newcastle started with a swift attack and gained a penalty, changing the scoreboard minutes into the game with a three point lead. Loughborough made sure they were not slow to retaliate and soon after, through a Newcastle scrum, gained a penalty. The equaliser was kicked clean by the home team’s Josh Sharp, levelling the score at 3-3.

Both teams were on the attack and penalties were awarded to both the Blues and Purples in quick succession. Both kicks split the uprights, taking the score to 6-6, less than ten minutes into the game.

A Newcastle line-out gave the Blues an opportunity to push inside Loughborough’s 22 but despite a fumbled pass, the home team were able to maintain a strong defence and keep possession. A run by Dan Watts saw the ball move deep into Newcastle’s half. Loughborough’s scrum inside the opposition’s 22 was turned over and the Blues made a dash down the left line. They were awarded a penalty and a kick at the uprights was taken only to find itself bounce hard off the right post. The surprise failed boot must have left the Newcastle side temporally stunned as they left their line open for Loughborough’s Rotimi Segun to make a bullet-like run down 80 yards of the field. A swift pass to teammate Gair Currie covered the last few yards and his dot-down over the line awarded Loughborough their first try of the game. Despite a failed conversion, the home team stepped into the lead: 11-6.

Newcastle, keen to get their head back in the game, pushed Loughborough’s defence hard. Saved fumbles kept them in possession inside Loughborough’s 22. The visitors took a penalty quickly which caused a heated srummage. As the teams locked horns on the far side of the pitch, Loughborough’s Charlie Ding was yellow carded and sent off. Newcastle took their penalty, their number 15 finally managing to spit the posts taking the score to 11-9 with the Blues closing the gap.

Loughborough’s response was sluggish and Newcastle proceeded to turn the ball over twice and gain yet another penalty, their fourth of the game. This moved the score to 11-12. Loughborough finally responded and found the strength in their defence once more. They turned over a Blue scrum and were awarded a penalty shortly after. Sharp’s kick left Newcastle’s lead short-lived and Loughborough began their first stride ahead of the northern side.

The ball was booted up and down the pitch a few times, both teams eager to gain yards. Once the game of ping-pong had subsided, a Loughborough line out led to a maul that gave Brendon Mandivenga the opportunity to score the team’s second try and with Sharp’s successful conversion Loughborough took a nine point lead at half-time, 21-12.

Loughborough wasted no time to get the game moving at the start of the second half and a Newcastle line-out, deemed not straight, led to a Loughborough scrum. This allowed Gair Currie to score Loughborough’s third try and with Sharp’s conversion increased the home lead: 26-12. Newcastle couldn’t keep up with the pace and found the game back inside their 22. A rolling maul awarded Loughborough another try but left the kick at a tricky angle and they failed to convert. Another instant try but failed conversion meant the score was 36-12, Gair’s hat-trick taking Loughborough into a 24 point lead just ten minutes into the second half. The Newcastle team’s vigour dwindled and Loughborough took full advantage, Dan Watts scoring the sixth try. A successful conversion by Sharp edged Loughborough further into the lead. Despite the home team’s strong attack, Newcastle gained numerous penalties that they finally managed to make use of. In the final quarter of the game, Newcastle gained their first try. With a successful conversion they scored what would be their final point of the match, scoreboard 43-19. A final try and yet another successful conversion by Sharp, who split the post clean and low despite distraction from the opposition, gave Loughborough another seven points. Newcastle’s chances of winning were finally extinguished and despite an eleventh hour push by the Blues and a Loughborough attempt inside Newcastle’s 22, the full time whistle blew with the final score 50-19.

Despite Newcastle coming into the game as top of the table, they were no match for Loughborough’s 2nd XV and left with their unbeaten streak broken. Loughborough took the win and scooped up a bonus point too. This continues the BUCS victories as all teams are yet to lose a match. This afternoon saw the 3rd XV win against Manchester: 95-5, and the 4th XV side win against Newcastle University’s 2s: 21-16.

Next week sees the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XVs in more BUCS Wednesday action. The 2nd XV travel up to play Northumbria University with a late start at 7:30pm, the 4th XV play Nottingham 2s away, and the 3rd XV play University of Worcester 1s at home on the 1st XV pitch, KO at 2pm.

Amber Thiara

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