Match Report: Loughborough University Rugby Union 2nd XV v Leeds Beckett University

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Yet another glorious win for BUCS 1 who head into the New Year unbeaten and top of the league. A second triumph over last year’s Champions Leeds Becket leaves them with just four games remaining until the knock-outs.

The evening kick-off saw an onyx sky blanket the home ground and the white clad Loughborough side filed onto the field to the rustic melody of a lone bagpipe and beat of a drum.

Loughborough kicked off the evening action and were immediately put on the defence as Leeds Beckett were straight off the mark pushing them into their own half. The away side architected an early line out in Loughborough’s 22 but an arduous penalty decision awarded to the home side gave Loughborough the opportunity to clear the ball, booting it down the line.  It wasn’t long before Beckett had the ball back, scoring their first try. A failed conversion soaring miles wide of the left upright took their lead to 0-5. Not standing for the oppositions early step ahead, Loughborough made good use of a lineout and a succession of clean passes, which resulted in #12 Dan Watt dotting the ball over the line. Bar Bartlett converted the try effortlessly as always and moved Loughborough’s tally to 7-5.

A nudge from Bar and a Loughborough turnover saw the home side generate some momentum. A timely penalty awarded to Loughborough inside Leeds Beckett’s half gave Bar the opportunity to rapidly put more points on the board. A beautiful goal kick splitting the uprights awarded the home team with a few more welcome points, score 10-5.

The reaming second half was a ripple of futile attempts by Leeds Beckett to penetrate the Loughborough line. However with the nimble footed Ayoola Erinlea and a fantastic kick from Brandon Mandivenga – that cleared a dangerous ball from inside Loughborough’s 22 – the half saw no further movement to the board. HT score 10-5.

Play resumed with vigour as both teams, revitalised from the break, were eager to dominate the second half. The line of scrimmage remained around the midfield until a pause in the game to assist an injured Harry Spencer was followed by a Leeds Becket penalty. The away side chanced with a goal kick, it was good and moved the score to 10-8.

A second pause shortly followed to allow the medics on to attend to Gabriel Carroll. Suffering a nasty hit to the head meant that his match ended there and he was assisted off the field. A wily Leeds Becket attack saw them gain another penalty and the second goal kick was clean, inching them into the lead by a single point, 10-11.

The spectating musicians responded to the change in pace from the home side and bagpipe and drum were to hand to spur on the Loughborough side. With the support of the crowds lifting their spirits, Loughborough responded as a seamless unit taking a rolling maul over the line and scoring their second try. Dan Watt secured the conversion and Loughborough reclaimed the lead, 17-11.

A temporary blackout interrupted play but the chants and music that filled the darkness echoed fervently with Loughborough support. The floodlights re-illuminated the pitch and left an eerie light and change in game tempo that seemed to be favourable to Loughborough. In the remaining eight minutes of play, Loughborough left Leeds in the dust. Another rolling maul over the line awarded Loughborough with their third try. Dan Watt added the extras to take the home team’s lead to 24-11. Watt, eager for another try, made an epic run down the length of the pitch, passing to Austin Becket who found the whitewash. Dan then made a seemingly impossible conversion, leaving all watching with raised eyebrows, flicking the scoreboard up and securing the win for Loughborough. FT score: 31-11.

Overall a fantastic win for the BUCS 1 team, yet to find a team able to unseat them from their top spot. They go into the New Year unbeaten. See them next in action after the festive break, with their first match of 2016 away against Newcastle on 20th January, kick-off at 2pm. Follow on twitter: @Lufbrarugby  to avoid missing out on the live action.

Amber Thiara

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