Featured match: Luctonians 17 pts Loughborough Students 18 in National League Two North (From Hereford Times)
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Featured match: Luctonians Rugby Club 17 pts Loughborough Students 18 in National League Two North
Luctonians 17 pts Loughborough Students 18
LUCTONIANS let slip a 17-0 half-time advantage as table-topping Loughborough scored a try in the last play of the match to leave the hosts’ play-off hopes in tatters.
There was a stunned silence from the Mortimer Park faithful and tears in the Luctonians dressing room after winger Callum Wilson scored the winning try in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
It was a late twist on an exciting afternoon at a wind-swept Kingsland and the Herefordshire outfit have now dropped to fifth place in the division.
Luctonians stalwart Dave Thomas admitted, after the match, that he felt the defeat would prove fatal to their promotion dream.
Loughborough Students were defeated in the seventh minute of stoppage time on their previous visit to Luctonians in December 2010.
Luctonians looked on course for a superb victory after two tries from skipper Paul Hulland and a penalty and two conversions from John Morris deservedly put them in command.
Flanker Ben James gave a man-of-the-match display for Luctonians and made a couple of vital steals in the line-out.
However, the students fought back after Luctonians’ director of rugby, Alex Davidson, was yellow-carded after a scuffle in the 48th minute.
Andy Hall got the Students on the board from the resulting penalty and then Luctonians suffered a major blow soon afterwards when prop Anthony Marfell left the pitch with a suspected broken arm.
Luctonians pinned Loughborough in their own half in the opening 40 minutes but the tables were turned in the second period as the Students dominated play.
Full-back Alex Davis exploited a three-man overlap on the left to score the visitors’ first try in the 61st minute to narrow the gap to 17-8.
George Thomas managed to touch down just before a visiting player and Luctonians tackled superbly for long periods.
Outstanding prop Fraser Balmain showed remarkable pace, racing 20 metres and holding off the pursuit of the chasing Morris to score Loughborough’s second try with 14 minutes remaining.
With Luctonians leading 17-13, Hall narrowly missed a penalty in the 79th minute but the visitors still had time for a final flourish.
The visitors won a close-range penalty after putting pressure on the Luctonians scrum and they opted for another set-piece.
With the home crowd holding their breath, the Students safely won the five-metre scrum and created a scoring chance on the right which Wilson gleefully accepted.
Hall missed the conversion and referee Tom Williams immediately blew the final whistle to leave the home fans heading to the clubhouse to drown their sorrows.
Luctonians: Charlie Meredith, Jimmy Norris, Will Richards, Alex James, John Morris, Will Burton, Brett Prior; Anthony Marfell, George Thomas, Rob Yeomans, Alex Davidson, Dan Smith, Nathan Roy-Smith, Ben James, Paul Hulland. Replacements: Richard Jones, Jordan Street, Barney Woods, Will Hodnett, Charlie Bennett.
Loughborough Students: Alex Davis, Craig Holland, Chris Kinloch, Will Simpson, Callum Wilson, Andy Hall, Joe McManus; Jack Steadman, Tom Crozier, Fraser Balmain, Jake Parker, Rob Conquest, Joe Atkinson, Phil Whitfield, Fred Silcock. Replacements: Alex Allan, Gareth Harris, Gus Davies, Tom Pointer, Sam Katz.
Referee: Tom Williams (WRU).
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