After getting abuse from last week’s 2nd team report mentioning pretty much just myself - although to be fair I did have a class game and got MOTM (due to Michael Crehan not staying around after!) - it was agreed Tom Litchfield would write this week’s report.
It has reached Wednesday and he’s now just ignoring my messages so you’ll have to put up with me again - the fact I scored a hat trick and a Try of the Season contender just means I have more ammunition to focus on myself!!!
Anyway, to the match. It was a windy day, even by Melton Mowbray standards and apparently 2 of the squad hadn’t even been told they were playing so typically there was a last minute panic seeing who could play where. The start was a bit chaotic with Loughborough kicking all of their possession away. However, a dominant but unstable scrum eventually led to a wheel that Fly Half Callum Smith used to switch and suddenly attack the blindside. After receiving a pop up from Scrum Half Kenny Baughan, Callum Smith broke through before offloading back to Kenny Baughan on an inside supporting line who ran in under the posts.
With the kick off Melton gained territory and possession and would show their Plan A... and well only plan of attack. Pick and gos, alongside the odd one-out pass to a forward when they fancied some variety, worked and Loughborough were too weak in the tackle. They would be rewarded with a try in the corner.
Loughborough would control the rest of the half though. A few tweaks in the scrum (I have no idea what, I assume just a different pushing technique?) led to a really dangerous platform for Loughborough to build from. Quick penalties, keeping the ball in play, would also prove fruitful with Loosehead Prop Samuel Franks going over. Tighthead Prop Tom Litchfield would match his partner in crime finishing off a good, patient, set of phases on Melton’s try line. More good work from the Loughborough forward’s saw a 15m line out convert into a rolling maul that was like a steam train. Having called a 5 man, the forwards present had enough to finish it off but veteran Second Row Graham Vaux proudly said “if this gets going, I’m stealing the try.” Young Tommy Christian got absolutely schooled when Graham Vaux stole the ball from him probably about 1m out to dot down.
Back to the exciting tries, after multiple snipes around the ruck, Kenny Baughan would try again and somehow break through two tackles behind the ruck to run through from the halfway line. The rapid opposite winger did catch up and nearly decapitated Kenny Baughan, but momentum took him over.
Melton would also be rewarded with a yellow card when one of their backrow decided to smack Kenny Baughan backwards as he was fishing the ball out a ruck, literally just after the ref clearly shouted “no more. Leave it”
Having essentially won the game, which was a league match, before halftime it was only inevitable that the intensity would drop slightly. Melton pounced on this and their simple game plan started to gain real yards as Loughborough were just too weak and stationary around the rucks. Melton would get 3 second half tries which did make the score line a bit too close for comfort at one point.
The best moment of the game, which can only be truly appreciated by watching the video (available upon request), happened after Kenny Baughan has been switched to the wing to allow George Hincks some time at scrum half. A few changes had led to a bit of an ‘unnatural’ looking Melton backline setup. With the ball coming from a ruck and a decent winger out wide, Kenny Baughan saw the spacing and guessed that a French style Second Row wide pass was coming... the intercept didn’t quite happen but what did was far better. A wild pass went over the second forward who tipped it up which Kenny Baughan ran onto it and volleyed it forward. After last week’s unlucky final bounce from a series of kick throughs, Kenny Baughan was determined to gather the ball at the first opportunity. This week the ball bounced once, straight up and without breaking stride Kenny Baughan gathered the ball and sprinted through to score.
I genuinely can’t remember the other Loughborough tries, as I was just replaying my hat trick of tries in my head.
In summary, Kenny Baughan scored an amazing hat trick which was his second of the season.
On a side note, Loughborough 2nd XV dominated a game to move up to 4th in the table to do the double over Melton this season.
Finally a special shout out must goto Head Coach Steve Duffus. Amazingly in his 8 years at the club, it is genuinely believed that he hasn’t won a single game (of any kind) in which he has started at Hooker. Although he was too scared to wear the no. 2 shirt, he did hook and throw in at the lineouts so it was certainly a step forward.