It was evident by the atmosphere around the pitch at Dean Road that this was going to be a very competitive game of rugby for the Students. Loughborough, top of the league, knew that a win would guarantee them another week as league leaders, while they also knew third place Westoe weren’t going to make that easy for them.

Loughborough at first were taken aback by their position on the pitch, as playing uphill caused difficulties for their attack and slowed play down and for the first five minutes Westoe used their experience to spread Loughborough’s defensive line. After eight minutes the number eight Oliver Stedman found a gap to put the home side into a 5-0 lead.

The students refused to let their heads drop, with Holland repaying the forwards for their hard work with a try, as he ran onto a pass from centre Chris Kinloch which split the Westoe defense.  Andy Hall stood up to take the lead for Loughborough with a conversion from under the posts.

Loughborough didn’t hold on to the lead for long though as Stedman chose the posts from a penalty and successfully gained three points for the home side.

Westoe continued to step up in defence making it very difficult for both captain Russell Weir and fly half Andy Hall to make decisions as the home side pushed up as a line. Holland continued to spot areas in which his speed and agility could put pressure on Westoe and when given the opportunity he flew through the line to set up the student’s second try. Another successful conversion for Hall, from the same place as the first put the score at 8-14 to the students.

For the next twenty minutes both teams had opportunities and moments of brilliance, it was obvious why both these teams are at the top of the National League Two North table.

Towards the end of the half Weir consistently got clean ball out of the breakdown and as phases mounted so did Westoe’s frustration. Loughborough were offered a penalty on Westoe’s 22 and Hall knew what he had to do, choosing the posts and making the half-time score 17-8 in favour of the students.

Despite action being restricted to the middle of the park, both teams had excellent chances to add to their points tally with overlaps on the wings. Westoe were unfortunate on two occasions to see the last man knock the ball on. However, Dowsett made no such mistake for Loughborough, holding on tightly to capitalise on the overlap to take the score to 8-22 against the run of play.

Westoe, a man down due to foul play, were camped in Loughborough’s 22 but Andy Hall’s interception on his own try line to run the whole length of the pitch and casually stepped out of the last ditch tackle to score under the posts which he converted himself.

Hall’s never ending support and decision making throughout the match meant he was a worthy Man of the Match, although it was a tough decision for Coach Morris as the front row put in massses of effort in all the scrums against a heavier Westoe pack.

In a physical game, Oliver Robinson was the second player to go to the sin bin, ten minutes after Westoe’s yellow card. Loughborough didn’t suffer much as they held their own in the scrums and the speed of Craig Holland let Simpson come to the wing to support Dowsett to score a try in the corner.

Subs were made and Chris Surman filled the large shoes of Andy Hall while Tom Bliss put in an impressive showing at scrum half. Loughborough’s final try came from a scrum in the right corner to the left wing and while Tom Bliss was caught he still managed to offload to supporting flanker Joe Atkinson.  The final score saw Loughborough remain top of the table with a 39-8 win.

Loughborough next face Sheffield Tigers who were promoted from National 3 North last year. They are proving to be highly competitive in this league and as every team is finding out all teams within the division are capable of winning.


Westoe RFC:

Tries: Stedman


Penalty:  Stedman

Loughborough Students RFC:

Tries: Holland 2, Dowsett, Hall, Simpson, Atkinson

Conversions: Hall 3

Penalty: Hall


Westoe RFC: Kerr, Banks, Clark, Haswell, Rundle, Judson, Phelan, Nesbit, Richards, Elliott, Bird, Robinson, Franklin, Maw, Stedman

Replacements: Kirkley, Duff, Younghusband, Johnston, McKenzie

Loughborough Students RFC: Holland, Wilson, Kinloch, Simpson, Dowsett, Hall, Weir, Allan, Crozier, Williams, Conquest, McKenna, Atkinson, Robinson, Silcock,

Replacements: Cunnew, Balman, Lamming, Bliss, Surman


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