Ampthill 25 – 3 LSRFC
Loughborough made the relatively short trip down the M1 to Ampthill on Saturday anticipating contrasting styles and knowing they needed to impose their game on the opposition to come away with the points.
The pitch at Amps was in excellent condition for running rugby but unfortunately the students never managed to string together the continuity required to trouble the home side. Ultimately turning the ball over easily in the contact area proved to be the decisive factor and Amps claimed a comfortable win.
Ampthill opened the scoring on 9 minutes through a Tarrant penalty; this was then followed on 13 minutes by a Baker try. The students then hit back through Owen Waters who converted a penalty in the 26th minute. Amps then controlled field position with Loughborough struggling to exit well or keep hold of the ball in contact.
Strong defence keep Ampthill at bay until the stroke of half time when former Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs prop Brett Sturgess crossed wide out. Tarrant missed the conversation and the students made the trip back through the forest at half time 13-3 down.
The first 15 minutes of the 2nd half was an uninspiring period with Loughborough not able to get their attack going due to turnovers but defensively being good enough to keep Ampthill out.
Ampthill then had a purple pitch in which they put the game out of sight, Hanks crossed on 55 minutes, Tarrant then converted a penalty on 57 minutes before Jones crossed on 59 minutes.
With all their experience Ampthill were able to see the game out relatively untroubled. The students did attack from everywhere to try and find the break through but were met with either very strong defence leading to mistakes or they turned the ball over in the contact.
Credit to Ampthill who controlled the breakdown through their excellent back row and converted their chances when they came. Loughborough despite being solid at set piece and stealing a number of lineout balls could not get going in attack and therefore came away empty handed.
The students know they will need to lift their intensity and work in the contact to ensure they are back to their best against a Cambridge side who have had an up and down season but are capable to some fantastic running rugby themselves.
Loughborough: Brugnara, Miller (capt), Betts, Kingham, Pitfield, Gracey, Boyce, Nuttall; Simmons, Waters, Pointon, Currie, Segun, Loizias, Kaye. Subs: Lynch, Boyce, Macpherson, Dockery and Edwards.
Man of the Match: Joe Bercis – Ampthill 7