On Wednesday 16th of March, Loughborough Grammar School attempted to reignite their unfortunate season with a win in the County Cup semi-final against Welbeck, a team they had lost to previously in the Daily Mail Cup with Lewis stating.
“It was a tough physical game against them last time, but I believe that our forwards have improved massively and can match the strong Welbeck forwards up front”.
Sadly for Loughborough were to be undone yet again by a strong Welbeck side.
With the loss of their first choice fly half it was up to Olly Tansey to keep LGS’s score board ticking over and for a while, Tansey had helped them keep in touch. LGS certainly showed a lot of promise in the first 10 minutes by creating huge amounts of pressure in the Welbeck half. Yet this sustained pressure came to nothing for the boys in blue with Welbeck striking first with two entries into the Loughborough half and scoring two tries to make the score 12-0 to the well drilled Welbeck.
Loughborough Grammar School were not disheartened however and continued to squeeze their opponents finally leaving the Welbeck half with points with a penalty which was gladly taken by Tansey.12-3. Welbeck fought back again creating pressure of their own, but Loughborough’s defence showed and again they won a penalty in Welbeck territory. 12-6.
Welbeck again came at Loughborough with their extremely efficient maul led by Phil Weller. This long period of pressure meant a penalty for Welbeck.15-6. Half time was fast approaching and both sides were eagerly trying to score points giving them momentum into the second half. It was Loughborough that took them, again through Tansey’s boot.15-9. Half time.
Before the match Lewis had already suggested what was required by his players not just in this game but in the following season.
“I need more physicality from my players which will hopefully come from time spent in the gym.”
Yet the big ball carriers Cooke and O’Leary contradicted this statement hammering into the Welbeck wall of defence. Welbeck’s back row were excellent in turning over Loughborough ball with Declan Johnson making big carries and tackles on the gain line. Yet so much pressure and possession for LGS had to eventually lead to a try which came in the form of Eoin Lewis underneath the posts. 16-15 Loughborough. Welbeck came back ferociously and won a penalty in front of the posts making the score 18-16 to Welbeck. Yet this seemed too much for Loughborough who repeatedly went into the Welbeck 22 winning a penalty themselves. But
Tansey falling at this last hurdle leaving the score at 18-16 to Welbeck.
A difficult end to the season therefore for Loughborough Grammar School. Lewis admitted that the season had been tough.
‘We have had a mixed season winning a lot of good, hard fixtures, yet in crucial games that would have given us momentum we lacked the clinical finishing to put weaker teams away as we should.’
He also felt the attitude of the players could improve.
“The attitude in terms of turning up on time for training and their discipline on the pitch was lacking occasionally which ultimately led to poor performances on the training ground and at Quorn on Saturday.”
Lewis has a past of professional rugby.
“I started my career at Newport moving to different clubs around Wales as they were regionalised. I then took a year out to go and play in New Zealand, and on my return I played for a mixture of Championship sides including Bedford, Plymouth and ending my career at Exeter.”
Whether too much was expected by the former professional Lewis replied.
“No I don’t think so. Obviously I tried to take what I had learned to the school, but I think that the discipline and work ethic was already installed in the boys. So it made my life a lot easier in that respect.”
Yet the season what not a total loss according to Captain Tom Summerscales and improvements are certainly on the horizon.
“Our victory against QEGS Wakefield was huge for us as it did not only show that we had the individual talent within our team, but also that we could produce a strong performance as a team, and compete at a strong and high level.”
Should LGS take Lewis’ advice on board then next season will certainly be one that should take the Loughborough outfit that extra step and a good run in both the Daily Mail Cup and County Cup will definitely not be out of the question.