It was another much changed 4th team taking on local rivals Shepshed in this eagerly anticipated league clash. On a cold, wet and windy afternoon the team convened at Hind Leys school car park full of spirit and bravado, certain players excited at the prospect of using the ladies changing room.
With the team being announced, the absence of a recognised number 10 was becoming somewhat of a concern until Mark Redpath
confirmed that his mum was on the touchline. Apparently this was an answer to a different question but a few of us thought it was our best option. In the end we had a fullback playing scrumhalf, a scrumhalf playing fly half, 2 wingers in the centres, a recognised winger and a flanker on the wings and I haven’t got a clue what his position is at fullback. Sorted. Our forwards were as usual a solid pack.
Anyone who has played at Shepshed knows that the pitch has a gentle (?) slope that can make for a game of 2 halves. Loughborough winning the toss chose to play against the slope and wind in the 1st half. The resulting ‘Boro game plan was to stay with them for the first 40 and apply pressure in the second.
The game started with a few handling errors from both sides with Loughborough getting the better of the early exchanges. Having 2 wingers in the centres proved getting the ball out to Timmy Campbell
on the wing was a slight issue (wingers don’t pass very often in the 4’s). However having a winger in the centre meant that Loughborough gained the first score. Fraser Young running the length of the pitch and outstripping most of the Shepshed team to put down under the posts after a pass from stand-in stand-off Pete Connor. David Rees playing scrum half added the extras with his easiest kick of the day. Shepshed scored straight from the kick off. Wayne Brewin
running back towards his own try line fumbled the catch, then the pick up and finally knocking it into the scoring zone, failed to drop on the ball before the opposition winger.
Loughborough had to fight hard for the rest of the half being kicked back to our own 22 every time we got within scoring distance. Dean Burniston
covering the lines at full back pulled off a fantastic chip over the top of the advancing Shepshed line, catching in mid run and making good yards to clear the danger, unfortunately I can’t claim it was planned as everyone knew I just ballsed up a kick to touch. Eventually after sustained pressure from the Shepshed forwards a lack of communication led to an overlap resulting in Shepsheds second and final try which was well converted. From the re-start into a strong wind, away-day Dave put all his effort into a big kick which resulted in 95% contact with the ground and making a grubber kick just about getting to the 10 metre line!
Loughborough rallied and managed to get some points on the board thanks to a very well slotted penalty from Mr. Rees which left the half time score at 12-10 to Shepshed.
With the game being close a few fresh legs were entered into the mix with John ‘Pa’ Litchfield replacing Tom ‘junior’ Litchfield in the second row and a re-shuffle of the backs bringing on Craig Bowles
at fly half.
The second half was all Loughborough. The forwards worked tirelessly creating plenty of excellent ball for the emphatic backs. Chris Ashton, Craig Bowles
and Shane Gilles finishing off excellent moves to dot down. Darren Bradburn
clearly had a point to prove playing against his former club. Playing out of position on the flank he tackled, crushed, ran over and just destroyed any Shepshed player who was anywhere near him. Scoring 2 tries of his own it was difficult to see a more committed player on either team.
The final move of the game saw what was probably the best try you will see all season in the 4’s. Shane picking the ball up and giving a beautiful reverse pass to Timmy who ran towards the 22, off loading to jon hutchinson
, Pete Connor to Mark Redpath
, to Chris Ashton and finally to Steve Bramhall who touched down in the corner.
managed 4 conversions and a penalty taking the final score to 46-12 to Loughborough.
The referees get a lot of criticism over the season in the lower leagues, however Saturday’s official was one of the best we have had and was excellent all afternoon.
To sum up, Gambo was missed as always. Dave had to kick some real conversions, and the versatility in the team was proved with so many people playing unfamiliar positions.
Well done everyone, a great victory.