Match Report: Loughborough University 3rd XV vs. University of Manchester 1st XV

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Our second BUCS match on the 1st XV pitch saw Loughborough 3rd XV annihilate the visiting opposition. A poor University of Manchester 1st team were left with their heads in their hands as the final score of 95-5 gave the BUCS 2nd XV another win, a bonus point, and ample confidence as they move further into the season.

Kick-off was delayed by the late arrival of the away team but with the extra warm up time, Loughborough launched into the attack as soon as the whistle blew. A maul over Manchester’s line, minutes into the game, awarded the BUCS-2s with their first try. Loughborough number 12, Ross Catlin attempted to convert but missed, the score 5-0.

A quickly taken Manchester penalty moved the ball into Loughborough’s 22 but a dash down the centre by Loughborough’s Quinten Koster ensured pla
y was back in Manchester’s half. Another maul attack was attempted but not square, it fell apart. Mark Dixon responded and weaved his way through the remaining defending line and cleanly passed to Nick Hayes who dotted the ball over the line. Catlin failed to convert leaving just a 10 point lead.

Manchester responded with what would ultimately be their only try of the game. Moments after a pause to attend to their injured number 19, they mauled over the Loughborough line. The Manchester number 10 failed to convert and sent the ball soaring wide of the left post. Loughborough took no time at all in their counter attack and play was immediately back in Manchester’s 22. Ross Catlin scored the next try and
Mark Dixon converted successfully to push the home team further ahead, 17-5.  Another Loughborough maul took the ball over the line and awarded them with a further try and a bonus point for the league.

Manchester’s defence retaliated with a very strong push against Loughborough’s attack which resulted in a brutal blow to Loughborough’s Victor Keunen who was momentarily out cold. Play was paused to see to him and much to the relief of the players, he managed to get himself up and was escorted off the field. He was replaced by Max Berry.

The Manchester scrum in Loughborough’s 22 was turned over and a subsequent Loughborough penalty was taken quickly. A pass by Frazer Beckett to Max Dixon allowed for a run down the left flank and the Loughborough scrum that followed saw Max Berry put points on the board after just minutes on the pitch. Catlin took the conversion and the ball bounced off the post and through the uprights to claim a less clean conversion, but points nevertheless. The score, 29-5.
By this point in play, all life seemed to be dwindling from the Manchester side. Their weakening defence left the line clear for Jonat
han Hughes to score Loughborough’s sixth try and a successful conversion by Catlin took Loughborough’s lead to 31 points. Despite a few Manchester penalties, Loughborough managed to turn-over the ball and score another two tries before the half-time whistle blew. The first dot down by Robbie Macdonald and the second by Berry. Both conversions were taken successfully by Ross Catlin. The score at half-time: 48-5.

The half-time break was taken quickly due to the late kick-off, with neither team leaving the pitch. After the spurring group huddle, Manchester seemed to have regained some vigour in their game but Loughborough’s attack was relentless. Not leaving the Manchester opposition a chance, they completely dominated the second half and riddled the 40 minutes of play with another seven tries.

The first try of the second half was made by Joss Morgan and unsuccessful converted by Catlin. A Manchester penalty was kicked down the field and collected safely by Loughborough who put play back in Manchester’s half. The away team were defiantly rumbled by the lack of points on the board and it left them disjointed and open for the Loughborough attacking line to push past. Loughborough’s tenth try came from Quiten Koster and a clean conversion by Joe Carolan took the score to 60-5. Will Priestly scored the 11th try and again, with the help of Carolan, put another seven points on the board, 67-5

A Loughborough win was clear and the remaining Manchester defence was feeble. Despite a few penalties and a potential opening in the Loughborough line, Manchester weren’t able to put anymore points on the board or stop Loughborough’s unremitting attack. The home side were determined to take every opportunity. Joe Carolan went on to score two tries, Jonathan Hughes slid easily past the Manchester defences and over the line to get his second try and Mark Dixon made fruitful a Loughborough scrum to dot the ball down. With each remaining try of the second half being successfully converted by Carolan, the full time whistle blew with Loughborough miles in the lead with a 90 point gain taking a well deserved win, 95-5.

The BUCS 2s obliteration of Manchester gave the Loughborough BUCS squad another week of wins, as not one of team has lost a match in the season so far. Next week sees the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XV teams in more BUCS Wednesday action as the 3rd XV face University of Worcester 1s at home on the 1st XV pitch, kick-off at 2pm.  The 2nd XV travel up to play Northumbria University with a late start at 7:30pm, and the 4th XV play Nottingham 2s away at 2pm.

Amber Thiara

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