Loughborough travelled to Newark looking to get back to winning ways following a home defeat to Melbourne. In the glorious February sun, the home side started the strongest, quickly making the most of good field position to score the first try from a driving maul. Try converted, 7-0.
Loughborough then looked to regain the initiative, and found an opportunity when a scrum was won against the head. Loughborough co-captain and number 8, Kieran Hewgill, showed his speed and handling skills to put winger Rohan Makepeace in space. Rohan then showed his speed to run in Loughborough’s opening try from within their own half. Try converted, 7-7.
With the scores level, it took a yellow card for Loughborough blind side flanker, Dave Hunter, to once again separate the two sides. Newark once again pushing over a maul for their second try of the match. Try converted, 14-7.
Following the restart, Loughborough managed to force a penalty at the ruck, giving fly half, Greg Biddle, the opportunity to take 3 points, score 14-10. Frustratingly, Newark struck back immediately with a penalty of their own, 17-10.
With the first half drawing to a close, Loughborough exploited space on the blind side and charged down the field. A last ditch tackle only preventing full back Adam Lee from going over for another try. However, winger Jacob Abraham backed himself and manged to bundle over the line right in the corner, try unconverted, 17-15.
The second half started very much as the first half ended, with Loughborough exploiting space and making meters with each carry. An opportunity for 3 points from a very central position were missed when Greg Biddle pulled the kick left. Not long after the missed kick, Greg Biddle was removed from field by the referee following a stamp to his head, despite Loughborough’s own physio declaring him fit to continue. Earlier in the match, centre Simon Taylor was forced off through injury, and now with the absence of their starting fly half and outside centre, Loughborough were forced to adjust and play people out of position. Despite this, they continued to look like they could win the match.
Both teams now traded penalties, with scrum half, George Hincks, stepping up to the kicking duties for Loughborough. Score 20-18. Another penalty attempt dropped inches short to prevent Loughborough from taking the lead. In the dying minutes, Newark managed to gain field position, and scored a try right under the posts. Try converted. Full time score, 27-18.
Loughborough came away from the game feeling disappointed and slightly hard done by after not gaining any points from their efforts. Despite this, they acknowledge their performance could have been better and will look to improve over the next two weeks in preparation for their home clash against Ashbourne on the 2nd of March.