Loughborough vs. Exeter – 5th October 2016 – Loughborough University Stadium
On Wednesday night, Loughborough faced Exeter in a thrilling 20-11 victory. It was the first Big Match of the series and was played in front of over 3000 spectators in the sold-out Holywell Stadium.
The 6:30pm kick off saw Loughborough dominate in the first few minutes, despite some hard blows from Exeter. Exeter slowly began to advance forward gaining a penalty in the first 8 minutes, that was successfully executed by their number 3. With 17 minutes gone, Loughborough retaliated through the efforts of Sam Pointon, whose try took Loughborough to 5-3. John Sharp then converted to take the score to 7-3. Loughborough battled and began to attack in force. Charlie Dockery cut through the Exeter defence, sliding through to score the try on the 24th minute. Loughborough lead 12-3. 4 minutes later it is Dockery again who scores. This time the try was wide, meaning the conversion was at an impossible angle, and inevitably missed. With the score at 17-3 the half time whistle sounded. Loughborough looked comfortable going into the second half.
The second half started with Loughborough taking no risks, looking positive with great defensive lines, Loughborough looked settled. However, on the 48th minute Exeter’s number 18 scored a try in which silenced the crowd. 17-8, the conversion was missed, which delighted the Loughborough 3000. Exeter then broke a 20-minute deadlock, scoring again in the 66th minute via a penalty, 17-11. The score began to look too close for comfort, Loughborough didn’t want a repeat of last year’s league cup final defeat, where they conceded in the final moments.
With the possession going back and forth, the Loughborough supporters cheered on the African violet men. Whilst some were cheering others were providing some hilarious ‘banter’. One chant in particular aimed at the blond Exeter number 10; “ Your 10’s from Slytherin, Your 10’s from Slytherin !”
With the game nearing the end, the 76th minute saw a brilliant run from Loughborough’s number 10 to the 22 yard line. At this point Loughborough were fouled and a penalty given. The supporters went silent for the kick but unfortunately it fell short, into the hands of the Exeter defence. Loughborough then regained possession. On the attack again, Loughborough battled forwards, to which they were given a line out 10 metres from the Exeter try line. Exeter then committed a foul and Loughborough were awarded a penalty in the dying moments of the game.
This match was Loughborough’s for the taking and Will Edwards’ penalty kick in the 80th minute secured the Loughborough victory.
The score on the whistle 20-11 to Loughborough. The 3000-strong crowd on their feet. The players elated. Loughborough ‘Walks On Water’ echoing around the stadium as Exeter collapsed to the floor in disappointment.
Final Score Loughborough 20-11 Exeter
– Article by David Boyden and Hannah Jane Thompson, Label Sport Editors