Hoppers 21 Loughborough 34
Preston Grasshoppers slumped to a fourth successive defeat after Loughborough took maximum points at Lightfoot Green.
The Students had a bonus point in the bag by half time. A combination of slick moves in the backs and poor defending by Hoppers saw them touch down four times in the opening 40 minutes.
The hosts started the better and looked dangerous. However, a poor kick from the returning James Gough gave Loughborough the opening to score their first try.
Owen Waters had time and space to place a delightful grubber kick to the corner which was touched down by William Kaye. The former added the extras from the touchline to give them a 7-0 lead.
Within five minutes, the lead had been extended. A penalty conceded by Preston was kicked deep into their territory. Two phases after the resulting line-out, Karl Main went over the line after nice interplay between Joshua Lewis and Bamidele Fadahunsi.
Two tries in the final five minutes of the half, gave Loughborough the bonus point they always looked like getting, effectively killing the match as a contest.
A missed tackle on the halfway line sent the visitors deep inside the Hoppers’ 22. From the resulting ruck, nice hands from William Lane and Andrew Bywater allowed Archie Bourne to score in the corner.
The bonus point came from another missed one-on-one tackle. Owen Waters burst through the middle and passed to Luke Crampton who went under the posts.
The home side looked a different team after the break. Grasshoppers’ pack were creating forward momentum every time they had ball in hand.
Christian Taylor got the hosts on the scoreboard fending off two defenders to score. Nick Gregson added the extras. Another strong forward drive resulted in a penalty try being awarded. Cynical play by Andrew Bywater was penalised by referee Hamish Grant who showed a yellow card to the guilty party.
With 20 minutes to go, Preston got the match to within one score, James Gough scoring the try.
Even though they were losing 24-21, there looked to be only one winner. That all changed from the kick off. The ball was knocked on by Adam Howard and gathered by Matt Lamprey who was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
The three points on offer was successfully kicked by Owen Waters and with 10 minutes left, a try confirmed that Loughborough would leave with maximum points as William Lane crossed the whitewash.
Preston went searching for the try that would get them a bonus point but ultimately came up short for the second week running.