Loughborough welcomed Lincoln RFC for their final home match of the season in what was expected to be a very tight affaire contested between two teams separated by a single point after 20 matches. A narrow loss for Loughborough away at Lincoln just before the Christmas break added even more motivation to the home side who were keen to finish their impressive season at home in fine style.
In the early exchanges, Lincoln had most of the ball, yet the Loughborough defence held strong allowing very little in terms of clear cut chances to open the scoring. After ten minutes of almost constant defence, Loughborough secured their first spell of possession and made quick use the opportunity. A couple of strong carries in midfield created quick ball which found its way into the hands of Loughborough’s leading try scorer, Jacob Abraham, who made an impressive run down the touchline, narrowly avoiding the whitewash. Beating two defenders, Jacob dotted down for the opening score. Try converted by Thomas Kirby, 7-0.
Loughborough now looked to build on their opening score, with yet more strong carries and impressive set piece. The speed at which the home side were playing was causing Lincoln some problems, leading to a penalty which was slotted for 3 points by Thomas Kirby, 10-0. Following the restart, Loughborough yet again showed what a strong defensive side they are by withstanding multiple Lincoln attacks, yielding no points to the visitors despite multiple visits to their own 22.
Turning defence into attack once again, Loughborough got within meters of Lincolns line. The forwards then showed their strength by a couple of impressive pick and goes, before head coach and loose head prop Steven Duffus bundled over for the try. There was a question over whether Duffus grounded the ball before losing control, however the referee was satisfied that a try had been scored. Try unconverted, 15-0.
Yet more dominance from Loughborough led to another penalty, finishing an impressive half 18-0.
Loughborough started the second half in a similar fashion as the first, with strong defence, impressive set piece and dynamic ball carrying. With standing multiple Lincoln attacks, once again Loughborough clear their lines and get back on the offensive. A slight over throw at a line out popped up nicely for fly-half Greg Biddle, almost as if it was intended. Yet more strong carries from the forwards set up a mismatch on the blind side, which Greg Biddle exploited by slipping between two sluggish defenders for Loughborough’s third try. Try unconverted, 23-0.
Loughborough maintained the pressure by playing with the ball from way within their own half. Dynamic carry after dynamic carry resulted in a penalty within the Lincoln 22. This time, captain Greg Biddle opted for a kick to the corner, in search of a 4th try and a bonus point. Despite a slight overthrow at the lineout, blind-side flanker Michael Crehan caught the defence by surprise and powered over the line for Loughborough’s bonus point try. Try unconverted, 28-0.
Yet more dominance from the home team saw number 8 Scott Pears pick from the back of a powerful scrum, only to be held up over the line. Unperturbed, Loughborough once again set a strong platform from a 5 meter scrum, this time choosing to utilise the backs. Replacement fly-half Simon Taylor showed his vision by cutting open a wearied Lincoln defence, stopping only inches short of the goal line. Quick thinking from Jacob Abraham along with a lust for more try’s as strong as Jacob Reese-Moggs desires for a time machine lead to the wingers’ second try of the match by falling over the line before the tried defence could realign. Try converted, 35-0.
Following the restart, Lincoln regained possession, and would have scored directly from an impressive run from their full-back and stand-in fly half if it wasn’t for a tremendous covering tackle from scrum-half George Hincks. Despite this, quick ball for the visitors saw them bundle over for their first score of the match. Try unconverted, 35-5.
More strong carries were to come from Loughborough, yet it was the visiting side who were to finish the match with a score, utilising some space on the blind-side to score a lovely try from within their own half. Try converted and full-time, 35-12.
A dominant performance by Loughborough who closed out a successful season at home by guaranteeing a top-half finish in the league. The men now travel to Long Eaton looking to secure a top four finish.