Camps stretched their unbeaten start to the season to five games with a hard fought victory over a competitive and skilful Leek team that was also unbeaten coming into the game.
The visitors showed that they would be a force to be reckoned with in the early exchanges putting the home defence under pressure in their own 22 but the well-organised defence weathered the storm. Camps were afforded some relief when the referee awarded a penalty against Leek for backchat, something which plagued the visitors throughout the afternoon, and the kick to touch set up a line out in the Leek 22.The ball was secured by Mark Newton and the subsequent drive was only slowed by a penalty offence. Camps profited from the advantage being played, shifted the ball wide through the backs for winger Mark Lisle to touch down in the corner.
Leek came straight back with an excellent restart which was to be a feature of their play throughout the game. Taking the ball from the kick the visitors put Camps under heavy pressure and eventually one of the Leek props was able to burst through and score a try, which was converted for a 2-point lead. Camps then enjoyed their best period of the game to date; firstly a combination of Barney Edwards and Harry Cunningham took them within a yard of the line and then strong running by winger Jake Shilston was supported by forwards Newton, Mitch Lee and Dan O'Grady and the attack was again thwarted by a penalty infringement. Barney Edwards kicked the 3 points to regain the lead.
Once again, however, the accurate Leek restart was too much for Camps to handle and the visitors were back on the attack. Although originally stopped by a timely intervention by player coach Stephen Halbert, on for the injured Rob Hunt, Leek regained possession from a poor clearance kick and were able to force their way over in the corner. An excellent touchline conversion put them 14-8 in front. A scrappy passage of play from Camps resulted in the visitors improving their lead before half time. Miscommunication at a Camp Hill line-out resulted in a Leek free-kick and the subsequent concession of a penalty forced the home side back into their own 22.In their anxiety to clear their lines, the ball was knocked on and kicked through by a Leek player who was quickest to react and win the race to touch The ball down. The successful conversion put the visitors 21-8 in front and gave Camps a mountain to climb as they attacked the Clubhouse end in the second half.
Camps were quickly on the attack and Halbey forced a turnover in the Leek 22 which gave the forwards the chance to attack the Leek defence and eventually the visitors conceded a penalty in front of the posts, which Barney Edwards converted. Once again the restart was regained by the Leek full back who was a constant threat but on this occasion the defence stood firm. Just after this the referee sent the Leek prop to the sinbin, the offence again being what the referee considered unacceptable verbals. Camps made the most of the numerical advantage almost
immediately with the forwards attacking the gain line eventually bringing full back Ian Briggs into the attack and with a typically outrageous dummy he was through the defence and under the posts. Barney’s conversion reduced the deficit to 3 points.
The restart was again regained by the kicking team but on this occasion with the help of a clear block on the Camp Hill defender. Ian Briggs kicked the resulting penalty deep into Leek territory to maintain the pressure. The forwards were now clearly on top of the depleted Leek unit and when they drove their opponents off their own ball only desperate defence prevented Camps taking the lead. Two subsequent 5 metre scrums appeared to be disrupted by the visitors but no penalty ensued and the dominant Camp Hill scrum was frustrated. The home side was not to be denied, however, and the ball swung from one side of the pitch to the other and when it came back across it fell to veteran prop Jan-Erik Anderson who produced an outrageous piece of skill to hold off two defenders and smuggle the ball to centre Ben Taylor who touched down for what proved to be the decisive score.
Leek, returned to full strength, strove hard to regain the lead and missed one good penalty opportunity, which came back of the post, but Camps held on to start their home league campaign with a hard- earned victory.
Next week we travel to Ludlow to take on another unbeaten team, league leaders, Ludlow.
All support will be very welcome for this 3.00 kick off.