In a thrilling end-to-end match described as a ‘tough learning curve’ by Team Bath captain, Loughborough beat TeamBath 51-17 in the fifth annual ‘Real Varsity’ rugby match.
“The team are absolutely gutted”, admitted captain Dyfrig Rees. “Every now and then you have to take your hat off and say you were beaten by the better team. They [Loughborough] are a quick bunch of guys. Today’s been a tough learning curve for our guys.
“The only positive I cn say is that we are a young side, about half the squad are freshers, and so we’ve learnt some valuable lessons for next year. The team can go from strength to strength.”
The captain, who was competing in his fourth Varsity game, praised the supporters: “It was awesome to compete in front of the home crowd”, he said. “We feel we’ve let them down a little bit.”
The first half was particularly evenly matched. Team Bath should have taken the lead in the first few minutes, when a penalty kick bounced off the crossbar, and the home side converted a second penalty soon after. Loughborough quickly recovered their composure, however, with Jack Bird breaking down the wing to score followed by a try from winger Dave Vincent. The visiting team’s struggle to settle, however, was evidenced in their failure to convert either kick.
A Loughborough handling error gifted Team Bath their next opportunity, when a mis-thrown line-out reached Team Bath’s Chris Clemmow. The number eight looked set to score, but the Loughborough defence recovered in time.
Several errors on both sides followed, with Team Bath’s Gareth Price taking advantage of poor Loughborough line-out to break away an score. At half time, the visiting side had a 25-10 lead.
In the second half, Loughborough increased the tempo of the game. Team Bath’s defence did well to scramble when a Loughborough try looked certain, but the visiting side started to pick holes in the home defence.
A brilliant try from Team Bath’s Tom Lukjanic, who ran almost the length of the field to place the ball between the posts, raised the home side’s spirits and gave hope to the noisy and enthusiastic home supporters, but failed to prevent a Loughborough win.
In the women’s match, Team Bath dominated their opponents, cruising to a 26-0 victory.
Team Bath started the game strongly, and were rewarded by a 9th minute try by fly-half Sarah Holloway, converted by fullback Darel Poole. From then on, the home side had the momentum.
Following Bath pressure, Loughborough conceded two penalties in quick succession, although Poole failed to score. Finally, just before the end of the first half, Team Bath’s pressure paid off when number 8 Nicola Hoole charged at the Loughborough defense and landed the ball squarely between the posts. Poole converted to send Bath into a 14-0 lead at half time.
In the second half, Team Bath continued to dominate, scoring another seven points early on to put the game beyond Loughbrough’s reach. TeamBath could have scored on several occasions, but handling errors proved costly. A final try from Poole secured the game for the home side.
15 Tom Lukjanic, 14 Peter Moralee, 13 Josh Noble, 12 Dave Cosgrove, 11 Huw Bevan, 10 Paul Roberts, 9 Gareth Price, 8 Chris Clemmow, 7 Oli Cooper-Miller, 6 Dyfrig (c), 5 Jamie Collins, 4 Adrian Grifiths, 3 Ted Stagg, 2 Paul John, 1 Tim Foister
15 Peter Clarke, 14 Dave Vincent, 13 James Golledge, 12 Nathan Lambden, 11 jack Bird, 10 George Drake, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Phil Burgess, 7 Evan Stewart (c), 6 Dave Hughes, 5 Jon Aston, 4 Will Warden, 3 Matt Berry, 2 Jason Phipps, 1 Tom Hobbs
15 Darel Poole, 14 Jo Godfrey, 13 ali Burnett, 12 Sarah Graham, 11 Alex Cook, 10 Sarah Holloway, 9 Jane Youdan, 8 Nicola Hoole, 7 Caley Parnell (c), 6 Isabelle Noel-Smith, 5 Jennifer Floyd, 4 Rachel Bennett, 3 Danielle Gagne, 2 Laura Groves, 1 Caryl Thomas
15 Hope Cooper, 14 Nikki Ward, 13 Shiv , 12 Fi Jones, 11 Emma Lightburn, 10 El Snowsill (c), 9 Sophie Russel, 8 Ellie Phillips, 7 Danni Allen, 6 Lauren Newman, 5 Emiley Thorne, 4 Sarah Jones, 3 Catherine White, 2 Hannah Clark, 1 Marianne Bowler
The University of Bath has one of the leading university sports departments in the UK. Under its Team Bath brand, its success is based on the expertise and dedication of staff, and its excellent facilities, used by the community and Olympic medal winners alike.
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