West London Institute. . .11
WITH their place in the universities' final as good as preordained, Loughborough weathered considerable discomfort before seeing off West London in yesterday's semi-final at Bedford.
The preordination may not, however, last too much longer. The Universities' Athletic Union is now opened up to colleges as well as universities and the standard of competition ought to improve. Even Loughborough agree that would be a good thing, though not before they have seen off Bristol next Wednesday at Twickenham.
They have been champions 16 more times than any other institution. The priority they give sporting excellence and physical education gives them a head start - literally so, since Loughborough forwards always seem bigger and stronger than their opponents.
This was the case yesterday, the physical disparity being particularly obvious and important in the line- out, though the persistence with which West London nagged at them was belatedly profitable, producing a last-minute try by the replacement forward, Jamie Beddow.
By then, though, Loughborough were in the clear, pushed into the lead first by Richard Tomlinson's four penalties to Andy Lee's two and then by a glorious second-half try by Mark Nicholson followed by a slightly more prosaic one by David Lockyer.
Loughborough: Tries Nicholson, Lockyer; Conversion Tomlinson; Penalties Tomlinson 4. West London: Try Beddow; Penalties Lee 2.
Loughborough University: N Stock; M Nicholson, P Bingham, R Tomlinson, M Dawson; G Williams, S Shaw; D Lockyer, C Johnson, G Reynolds, M Wright (C Davis, 39), D Jones, A Metcalfe, A Diprose, N Richardson (capt).
West London Institute: R Phillips; J Wright (G Williams, 46), G Harrison, A Palfrey (S Cathcart, 37), D O'Leary; A Lee, J Austin (capt); J Cooke, J Black, F Wiseman, R Hill (J Beddow, 65), N Dawes, C Tarbuck, P Agar, C Williams.
Referee: M Binning (Washington DC).