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1st XV - Match centre

Newcastle (Staffs)
Sat 24 Mar 15:00 - Midlands Division - Midlands 2 West (North) Full time


Leek proved too strong for local rivals Newcastle as the Moorlanders scored four first half tries to effectively kill the game.

In doing so, Leek won the bonus point and prevented the visitors from scoring at all.
Sam Hunt started at full back with Tom Scragg and Will Graham on the wings. James Floyd and Rob McDermott were in the centres and Gary McDermot and Ollie Drew were at half back.
Lee Williams, Ed Cheadle and Bobby Cheadle made up the front row with Ben Barlow and Luke Hardern at lock. George Hunt, Joel Booth and Jack Conlon made up the back row.
Leek picked another colt on the bench, in the shape of back row forward Todd Cutler with Jake Bainbridge and Andy Thompson completing the line-up.

On a drying pitch, Leek were out of the blocks quickly and scored the opening try after 1 minute and 50 seconds. A great tackle midway in the Leek half on the Newcastle centre led to the turn over. The Leek forwards rucked and passed downfield before the ball sped out left for Sam Hunt to score in the left corner. He converted his own try and Leek led early, 7-0.
On 7 minutes, a penalty for slowing the ball at the ruck on the Newcastle 22 led to Sam Hunt converting a penalty to increase the led to 10-0.
5 minutes later and brother George Hunt, not to be outdone scored a superb try in the left corner also.
Newcastle’s forwards had rucked well and got to within 5 metres of the Leek line, looking dangerous, when another turnover led to a length of the field return. Will Graham injected the pace necessary to get to the last defender, then his pass to George Hunt saw the flying flanker sprint in from half way.

The conversion missed but at 15-0 with 14 minutes played, it had been an excellent start from Leek.
From the kick-off, Leek scored their 3rd try after another Will Graham break and then excellent rucking from the forwards around halfway then led to great hands left from the centres. The ball sped out to Tom Scragg who bulldozed his way to near the Newcastle line.
The inside pass found Gary McDermott and he twisted over for the try.
Sam Hunt converted well to increase the lead to 22-0.
On 21 minutes, Leek were again dangerous on the Newcastle 22 and it led to another infringement for slowing the ball down. Sam Hunt converted the penalty and Leek led 25-0.
On 26 minutes came the try of the day.

It was top class and rounded off a magnificent opening part of the game for Leek.
Fielding the ball in their own half, Leek’s forwards set up a couple of rucks, then the backs took over left, rucking and then passing right as the move went beyond the half way line. Tom Scragg received the ball and sprinted down the right channel. The forwards created the ruck ball before hands left and then Gary McDermott’s superb chip into the left corner for Will Graham to dot the ball down with the defence up in the line.

It was superb movement by the whole Leek side without an error and with not a little confidence. Then Sam Hunt finished it off with a tremendous conversion from the left touchline. The score was 32-0 as the clock ticked to 28 minutes.
The next remarkable point was that the first scrum occurred on 32 minutes. This showed the accuracy and skill of both sides.
On 36 minutes, Newcastle looked like they would score, winning a penalty and opting for the lineout. As the maul stopped and the ball came out a tackle near the line led to a Leek penalty for no release. Newcastle ended the half on the attack but came up against solid Leek defence.
Half time 32-0.

Newcastle needed the whistle as Leek didn’t and the 2nd half was a complete contrast to the first half.
Credit to Newcastle, they held Leek scoreless until the 84th minute which was no mean effort given the first half performance of Leek.
Newcastle played with more ball and were more patient than in the first half as they tried to find a way past the resolute Leek defence. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t manage it and despite a yellow card for Ed Cheadle on 66 minutes, the Leek defensive effort kept the visitors at bay for the entire 2nd half.

Todd Cutler made his debut on 64 minutes and enjoyed a couple of strong runs as Leek continue to blood its youngsters in the adult game. He became the 5th such colt to get valuable experience of the first team this season.
Leek’s final try of the day came deep in injury time as the backs finally made a telling break in the 2nd half. Leek had a scrum on the Newcastle 5 meter line and the powerful drive saw No8 Joel Booth control the ball superbly and crash over for the 5th try. Sam Hunt converted and Leek had rounded off the game well and winning 39-0.

It was a great effort after another week’s rest and leek can again look forward to Easter off before they resume at Old Saltleians on April 7th. KO 3pm.
Leek’s last home league game of the season is then on April 14th against 3rd placed Spartans and Leek currently sit 1 point behind them in the table.
It should be a highly competitive affair as Leek went down 11-10 in the earlier fixture.
Please come and support Leek on that day and enjoy the hospitality
Author John McDermott

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Whitchurch 21 98
2. Crewe & Nantwich 22 80
3. Leek 21 69
4. Spartans (Midlands) 22 66
5. Ludlow 22 62
6. Veseyans 22 57
7. Walsall 22 53

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