Leeds keep hold of student crown
Leeds Metropolitan University 29 v 12 Loughborough University
Headingley Carnegie Stadium
By Adam Grice and Ashley Grint
Leeds Metropolitan University made it seven successive years as the Student Rugby League champions after a convincing victory over Loughborough University at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Leeds Metropolitan’s Scott Ellam capped off a man-of-the-match performance scoring a try and drop goal to seal their fifth consecutive victory over Loughborough.
This was only the hooker’s third game back from injury after spending two years on the sideline following reconstructive surgery.
The home side started the final brightest as they scored two tries in as many minutes through Gareth Fairhead and Pat Toft.
Captain Mark Wool kicked one conversion and missed the other to give Leeds a 10 – 0 advantage.
Loughborough drew closer to the runaway Leeds side as Anthony Squires dived over the line in the corner. However, captain Marc Wilson failed to covert.
Leeds extended their lead just before the break after referee Chris Kendall spotted and infringement by a Loughborough player. Scrum Half Wool kicked between the posts to add a further two points.
After the break Leeds went in search of extending their lead as left centre Jimmy Keinhorst picked up the ball in his in goal area before sprinting the best part of 80 yards.
Loughborough winger, Squires used his pace to catch Leeds’ number four but moments later Danny Edmondson grounded in the corner.
Squires was rewarded for an impressive performance with his second try of the match to cut the deficit to 16 – 8.
On the next attack, Rich Hawley sparked signs of a Loughborough come back as the away side outnumbered the Leeds defence for a simple try in the corner.
Former Loughborough hooker Nathan Walmsley wrapped up a victory for Leeds in-between Ellam’s try and match winning drop goal.
Leeds coach Paul Fletcher was delighted after his team’s impressive performance as they continued to dominate student Rugby League.
He said: “I thought it was a good contest between the top two university sides in the country.
“You know what you have got with Loughborough, they never lie down. We got into an early start and it looked like we were going to walk away comfortably.”
The Leeds coach still considered their challengers a major threat despite their comfortable lead.
“For 40 minutes of the mid-period they smashed us all over the place. We kept giving penalties away, which gave field positions away and they played some smart football.”
However the late tries from Walmsley and Ellam sealed victory for Leeds in the final moments of the encounter and coach Fletcher was delighted for the man he poached away from Loughborough last summer.
“He is delighted that he got the last try. You could tell when he put it down.
“Nathan came to our university and has being a great ambassador for us, obvious at Loughborough’s expense.”
Leeds Metropolitan University: Fairhead, Lockhead, Edmondson, Keinhorst, Sampson, Toft, Leeke, Sykes, Ellam, Walmsley, Jackson, Richards, Wool (c)
Substitutes: Walmsley, Griffiths, Tires, Francis
Loughborough University: Hughes, Squires, Foster Hale, Thomas, Hawley, Powley, Wilson (c), Pacey, Haliday, Ljazouli, Marshall, Barrett, Morgan
Substitutes: Smith, Andreoli, Hurst, Belshaw
Man of the match: Scott Ellam (Leeds Metropolitan University)
Referee: Chris Kendall