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Loughborough lose out to strong Hartpury side in National One

This week, Loughborough faced off against Hartpury College and with the visitor’s record winning streak looking difficult to break it was set to be a testing match for the home team. In the first half, Loughborough were the better side with a very dominant display but after half time, Hartpury upped the ante and exploited any weaknesses in Loughborough’s game.

 

 Connor Gracey charges forward in Loughborough's valiant effort against top of the league Hartpury College

Dan Moolman charges forward in Loughborough’s valiant effort against top of the league Hartpury College. Photo: Phil Hutchinson

The visiting side kicked off the game but it was Loughborough that seemed the most switched on from the first whistle. Will Edwards supplied the team with a tremendous kick and chase which forced the penalty from Hartpury. Josh Sharp sailed it through the posts, which took the side 3-0 up. Less than ten minutes last Sharp slotted another penalty which was answered by a penalty kick from Callum Sheedy.

Loughborough looked strong in both attack and defence whilst Hartpury seemed to struggle with the ball in hand. Captain Isaac Millar led from the front but big performances from pack forwards Kingham, Vukasinovic and Lasis helped towards Sharp running in the home side’s first try. Just three minutes later, Sheedy kicked another penalty.

The away side started to gain momentum and Tanner crashed over Hartpury’s first try, followed by a second from Eves just before the whistle blew for half time.

Half time: Loughborough Students RFC 13 Hartpury College RFC 18

The second half proved much more testing for the home side as Hartpury hit back with tries coming quick and fast. In a space of ten minutes the visitors scored three of their seven tries. The first came in the fourty-seventh minute by Polledri, generated from a driving maul, the second by Eves from a significant overlap on the outside and the third Vellacott utilised a mismatch to nip through the Loughborough defence and score. Sheedy converted the final try so the score stood at 13 – 35 to Hartpury.

This did not dent the home sides spirit as Sharp set up a cross field kick for winger Stapley whom scored in the corner. Three minutes later, Segun ran in the sides third try after a great display of pace from Stapley and Edwards.

Hartpury scored a further two tries from Shaw and Stevenson, which allowed them to run away with the game.

Full time: Loughborough Students RFC 25 Hartpury College RFC 47

Post-match, forwards coach George Chuter commented ‘I’m really proud of the lads today. We stood toe to toe with the league leaders for an hour and scored some fantastic tries. Eventually we ran out of energy, having to deal with their very physical ball carriers but overall it was a very encouraging display’

Loughborough Students RFC: Christie, Millar (C), Betts, Lasis, Vukasinovik, Gracey, Moolman, Kingham, Simmons, Sharp, Loizias, Currie, Segun, Stapley, Edwards

Replacements: Lynch, Davis, Macpherson, Pointon, Olowofela

Hartpury College RFC: Merrey, Tanner, Clarey, Quinn, Dancer, Polledri, Gilbert, Oakley, Shaw, Sheedy, Mikalcius, Eves, Leonard, Abrahams, Wilcox

Replacements: Stephenson, Gibson, Flook, Perry, Vellacott

 

By Evie Probert