1st XV match report for Saturday, 2nd April 2016
With a quarter to go, Leek were within 5 points of their visitors DK and all results seemed possible...
Midlands West 1
Dudley Kingswinford 38
With a quarter to go, Leek were within 5 points of their visitors DK and all results seemed possible, but the initiative was wrestled back by the visitors and in the end ran out comfortable winners leaving the Moorlanders without even a losing bonus point.
Youngsters were prevalent in the Leek squad for this match as they ran out onto a drying pitch after the soaking it received all morning.
However, as in so many games this season an early score against Leek had the Moorlanders chasing the game.
4 minutes of frantic rugby by both sides with Leek losing possession 3 times in the tackle eventually led to a mix up after a kick ahead and the ball was gathered by a DK centre for try in the left corner. The conversion was superb and DK led early 0 – 7.
It took Leek only 7 minutes to get back on terms though after the ball went loose from a ruck on Leek’s 10 metre line. Reece Milner picked the ball up and made a determined run over half way at which point his pass to James Floyd saw the centre back to his best with a swerving, side stepping run under the posts for a superb score. Gary McDermott converted and it was 7 all.
On 13 minutes, a DK lineout on the right just in the Leek half saw the backs running leftwards but a switch at the tackle had Leek’s right flank scrambling when the ball came back. A neat chip through saw the right wing touch down for a score in the corner, although there was much speculation as to the grounding, the try stood and again the fly half converted superbly from the opposite touchline this time to hand DK a 7-14 lead.
On 22 minutes, DK extended the lead with a successful penalty after Leek were caught crossing following a lineout win. 7-17.
Leek then defended the rest of the half well with DK exerting a lot of pressure and it wasn’t until the last seconds of the half that Leek’s line was breached again. A lineout in the Leek 22 then had the DK backs run the ball simply wide right. Poor tackling let the DK right wing in for his 2nd try but the conversion failed and DK led at the half by 7-22.
Leek had played 2nd fiddle for most of the first half and produced an error strewn performance but Neil Edge’s half time team talk worked wonders as the Moorlanders scored the next 10 points.
Firstly, with only 2 minutes of the half gone a clearance kick found Ollie Drew collecting the ball on his own 10 metre line. He decided to run the ball down the left wing and throw a pass inside. The grasping interception just failed and Nick Palmer collected and sprinted in for a try. McDermott converted and at 14-22, Leek had given themselves hope.
3 minutes later and a McDermott penalty for not releasing had Leek up to 17-22.
DK then scored a penalty from the kick off as Leek defended off feat at a ruck, 17-25 and then right on 60 minutes McDermott landed another penalty for in at the side and at 20 – 25, this game was in the balance.
Then Leek knocked on in midfield on 62 minutes and after a kick ahead and poor attempts at pick-ups, eventually a DK back collected and scored his side’s 4th try. The conversion was good at 20 - 32.
Still on 65 minutes Leek had a chance for a score with a lineout deep in DK’s 22 but the line was lost and then on 70 minutes another lineout was won and as Leek’s pack mauled to the line, DK’s flanker pulled the maul down and was yellow carded. Leek elected to go for another lineout. This time a good catch and drive allowed skipper Bobby Cheadle to crash over for Leek’s 3rd try in the right corner. The conversion missed and at 25-32, there was still hope for Leek.
Then Leek went to sleep and allowed DK’s fly half to slot 2 penalties on 75 minutes and 80 minutes for not rolling away at the tackle after DK took the game to their hosts again and at 25-38, Leek needed to score in overtime to get a point. They were given a last chance with another yellow card for a forward caught throwing a punch but the final lineout drive was thwarted by a shove into touch and Leek had lost another frustrating game of rugby.
On a positive note, the younger players performed well and in Reece Milner and Jack Conlon, the Moorlanders have 2 outstanding back row forwards for the future.
Next week sees Leek make their final and longest trip of the season to Hereford.
There is a coach for this game which will depart the clubhouse at 1030.
If you are coming with the team, please contact Mark Hardern and be ready to leave at 1015.
On April 16th, Leek’s final league game is at home against Kenilworth. Kick off 3pm, but please come down early as there is a beer festival and food on for most of the day.
On April 30th, Leek hosts the County Championship match between Staffordshire and NLD. Kick off 3pm. Hopefully 1 or 2 Leek players will make the 23 man squad. It’s a chance to see higher grade rugby at EsterChem Park and promises to be a great afternoon’s entertainment. Car Parking on the field.