In what was a sensational day of women’s rugby down on the Loughborough 1st XV pitch. First, Loughborough College pulled off a victory with a massive point difference against Worthing College. A short break ensued before the main event which saw Loughborough lightning take on Wasps ladies.
The game started well for lightning as they made the initial claim for control, pressing hard from the off. They ensured that play for the first 10 minutes, remained squarely within the Wasps 22. It looked as though Lightning would score as they kept pressing for the line, only to make minor mistakes which allowed the opposition to gain some breathing space. Surprisingly, given the flavour of the match’s opening, Wasps were the first to score. They broke the line in the 20th minute, but failed to score. Despite the score line, the direction of play showed no sign of changing. Lightning continued to challenge deep and suffocate the Wasps attack whenever they got the ball. They struck back in the dying minutes of the first half though with an unconverted Carys Williams try. They were unable to convert, but the try alone was enough to level the playing field as the two headed for the dressing rooms.
Half Time: Lightning 5 – 5 Wasps Ladies
It was then all to play for in the second half, Loughborough lightning were keen to emulate glorious wins of the past. They began the second half by doing just that. They found themselves in the running very early on to get that all important second try. They looked certain to score, but were denied by Wasps defence. However, Wasps had infringed at the ruck and Lightning took the lead courtesy of a penalty try. Wasps fought back from the restart and drove lightning back. To no avail though, as Lightning dealt with the danger well, cutting down their attack and regaining possession close to their line. What started with Lightning on the back foot, quickly turned into a glorious counter attack. Some quick thinking and brilliant passing play took Lightning up the other end of the pitch to score another try. This time it was Katie Trevarthen who scored, with a successful conversion. Lightning then started to pull away from their rivals. Moments later, Lightning struck again from the wasp’s kick, and Natasha Jones charged through to score, once more converted. Lightning had now managed to build a very convincing lead in the match which suggested that victory was inevitable as we headed toward the 70th minute. The last 10 minutes showed momentum swing the other way though. Lightning took their foot off the pedal ever so slightly and Wasps capitalised on this. They managed to work in two trues, in the 72nd and 80th minute. These tries arguably brought Wasps back into the game, but they were beaten by the clock. Neither try was converted and Lightning’s victory was confirmed.
Full Time: Lightning 26 – 20 Wasps
Overall a great performance by Lightning on a day that truly championed women’s rugby. Wasps sat two places above Lightning in the league; and the victory showed that with the right determination and preparation on the day, Lightning are capable of conquering any foe.
Lightning will be back in action at home on the 17th February in a must win match against Darlington Mowden Park, 3pm KO.