Luctonians maintained their six point advantage at the top of National League 2 West, with a high-scoring 31-50 victory on the road at Loughborough Students last Saturday.

The game was played on the artificial surface at Loughborough University, with the sun out and a light breeze, and this all lead to perfect conditions for a frenetic pace that was maintained throughout.

The Students started the brighter and applied wave after wave of high-paced attack, which saw Luctonians winger James Wheeler pick up an early yellow card on eight minutes, but as you would expect from a side top of their division, Lucs showed a stoic defence and repelled all that was thrown at them before going down the other end and scoring through full back Josh Watkins, on his 100th National League appearance for the club, with their first attack of the game. Tom Jones knocking over an excellent touchline conversion for 0-7 after 16 minutes. But Loughborough would finally get on the scoreboard, from a set piece backs move that saw winger Karl Warner go over wideout, with Alex Wainwright missing the conversion it made the scores 5-7 after 18 minutes.

Jones would slot over a penalty for Lucs two minutes later, but the Students would score again from first phase attack as centre Archie Kean went through off an extremely ‘flat’ pass to score under the posts, with Wainwright this time adding the extras the Students deservedly lead 12-10 after 23 minutes.

It was at this moment though that Lucs completely took over the game, with five unanswered tries. Watkins with the first of these and his second of the game as he out-flanked the Students defence in the left corner, before scrum half Josh Nott powered over in the other, following fine work from his forward pack, who were absolutely dominant at set piece. Jones converted the second of these on 37 minutes and that would give the visitors a 12-22 lead at the break.

The second period started as the first had finished with Lucs on the front foot again. James Wheeler’s score on 42 minutes was arguably the pick of the bunch as Lucs played from deep, displaying more than just a power game, as Watkins danced through the defence, drew the full back and put the rapid Wheeler away down the left wing. Jones again successful with the boot and Lucs had the try-bonus point secured at 12-29 with 43 minutes gone.

Two minutes later Lucs reverted to the power-game and Seb Robinson was driven over from an excellent lineout maul, before a nasty injury to Loughborough wing Warner delayed proceedings for 10 minutes or so. On the resumption Lucs went over again immediately, with man of the match Lewis Parks powering through the middle of the defence to score under the posts. With the conversion chipped over by Jones, Lucs lead 12-43 on 58 minutes.

The Students were not done however, and two tries in four minutes from replacement forwards Lucas Eule and Oliver Fisher gave the hosts a glimmer of hope at 26-43 with 14 minutes to go. That was then fuelled further as Lucs fly half Tom Jones was yellow carded for a high tackle, before centre Tom Riman went over to make things tight at 31-43 with 6 minutes still on the clock.

But the visitors would seal the win in style as flanker Archie Benson cantered in from 30 metres out and with Owen Randell converting Lucs would take maximum points having been pushed hard by a dangerous Students outfit.

The men from Mortimer Park enjoy a rest week this week before playing more students as they host Exeter University in Kingsland on the 10th of February.

Luctonians Man of the Match
Lewis Parkes

Listen HERE on BBC SOUNDS to Tomo speaking, after the final whistle, with Trevor Owens in the BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester studio, live on his Saturday show

On our Facebook Page you can check out the live scoreline, and also a grandstand view of the tries HERE.

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