Boro defeated but earn bonus points
ASHBOURNE 34 LOUGHBOROUGH 27
LOUGHBOROUGH kicked off the match into a strong wind which was gathered well under pressure from the Loughborough chase.
Both teams had chances to use the ball in attack, but it was Ashbourne who scored first to make it 7-0.
Loughborough once again kicked off into the wind, this time the chase being more effective with Gary Bottomley hitting the catcher hard to dislodge the ball and handing it to Loughborough, but Ashbourne regained and a converted try put the home side 14-0 ahead.
Again Loughborough kicked off, the kick taken beautifully in the air by young back row Tommy Christian. Loughborough’s first try came from using their big ball carriers to great effect. Captain Jamie Grice made some decent yardage which then gave number 8 Waylen Bradley the chance to have a charge from the 22m line.
With a number of Ashbourne defenders hanging from him, he dragged himself and them to the line to score the try to reduce the arrears to 14-5.
Unfortunately for Loughborough, the hard work for the try was undone almost immediately. After gathering the restart well, Loughborough began to build for another attack just outside their 22m. An interception in the midfield gave the Ashbourne player a simple run in to finish the score, again converted to make it 21-5.
Loughborough again managed to beat Ashbourne to the ball after the restart.
A penalty for Loughborough meant a chance to attack from a lineout on the Ashbourne 5m line. Powerful carries from the breakdown from Scott Pears and Mike Roberts saw Loughborough move forward and Waylen Bradley scored his second try of the day to make it 21-10 and that was how the score stayed until half time.
At the start of the second half Loughborough were guilty of not securing the ball well enough at ruck time and Ashbourne scored the first points of the second half getting the ball wide quickly again for their winger to finish the try, converted to make it 28-10.
After a number of penalties put Loughborough deep into the Ashbourne half, a quick tap from Scott Pears gave Loughborough some quick go forward. The resulting maul edged its way to the Ashbourne line and over, Jamie Grice emerging from the mass of bodies to claim the try, converted by Thomas Kirkby to reduce the arrears to 28-17.
Ashbourne attacked into the Loughborough half again, with the Loughborough defence holding firm until they gave away a penalty converted to make it 31-17.
From the restart Loughborough again regained the ball. A patient and composed attack saw the away side on the Ashbourne 5m line.
A moment of brilliance saw George Hincks chip over the defensive line for fly half Harry Venning to score the try, converted by Thomas Kirkby to make it 31-24.
Ashbourne kicked off and this time snatched the ball from Loughborough. From that tackle a penalty was awarded to the home side, which was slotted home to make it 34-24.
Loughborough from then on camped in the Ashbourne 22m. The constant pressure eventually told and Loughborough were awarded a penalty which Thomas Kirkby stepped up to score, giving Loughborough two bonus points away from home in a 34-27 defeat.
After the match Captain Jamie Grice said: “It’s never easy to earn points away from home, and with the changes we were forced to make early on I couldn’t be prouder of the boys.”