Loughborough 24-32 Dronfield
Loughborough returned to league action at Derby Road to welcome second in the table Dronfield. A popular pre-match lunch led to a large crowd cheering the lads on in the sunny spring weather.
However, not everyone had a great start to the day as late call up, and Sheffield native, Hooker Michael Crehan turned up at Dronfield’s ground! He even had his family attending as it was so close for them! Luckily he was on the bench so had time to drive down the M1.
Unfortunately it was Dronfield who started the game on top with all the possession and territory down the hill. A penalty and unconverted try would be their reward as Loughborough struggled to exit.
When Loughborough did finally get the ball, they showed their dangerous pace and solid scrummaging to create an opportunity that full back Tom Kirkby finished off. He converted his own try.
Dronfield kicked off and would keep the territory for yet another attacking spell. At this point Greg Biddle was given a yellow card - as he (quite strongly argues) unintentionally tripped the Dronfield Scrum Half as he tried to get quick ball away. Dronfield eventually scored again with a successful conversion.
Although down to 14 men, Loughborough played the clock well, with Tom Kirkby just missing a long range penalty, but also created chances. This pressure eventually led to a Dronfield front row yellow card. Loughborough opted for a scrum close to the Dronfield tryline, which gave Loughborough a last attack before the half time. The ball was secured but eventually lost out wide.
Tom Kirkby got the first points of the second half with a penalty to narrow the gap.
However, Dronfield one again went up the other end and got another 7 points themselves.
The next 10mins were all Loughborough though with a sudden injection of pace that saw Loughborough running through Dronfield like a hot knife through butter. Centre Simon Taylor finished off the first spell out wide - which Tom Kirkby superbly converted.
Tom Kirkby then got his second try and conversion when he appeared at scrum half to break through a gap and score in front of the loyal crowd. Loughborough would lead for the first time in the match.
With twenty minutes left on the clock, Loughborough were attempting to hold out and did so for a while. Disappointingly Dronfield managed to score out wide which their kicker slotted. A final penalty from him would, cruelly, leave Loughborough with no league points from the game at all.
Given the relatively late charge before Dronfield came back to steal all 5 points, it left a bitter taste in the mouth for all those supporting Loughborough. However, it should not be forgotten the defensive effort the boys put in. At least four times they were on their own try line defending and managed a turnover to exit. Plus, this time last year Dronfield arrived and threatened “to relegate you boys.” Whereas this year it was a clash between two sides near the top of the table.
Next week Loughborough RFC travel to Ilkeston.