This was the first time that Leek had reached the 2rd round of the RFU Intermediate Cup and they were determined to progress into Round 3.
Oliver Drew started at full-back, Ben Smith at centre, Elliott Fowler as full-back in the second half, Ed Harrison in the second row, Jack Conlon at No 8 and veteran Jason Milner returning from dancing in London.
Casuals kicked off into the wind and put Leek under pressure as they failed to gather cleanly. But gradually Leek started to show some control and after defending well for 5 minutes a loose ball was picked up by James Floyd who raced away from his own half to score under the posts which captain Gary McDermott converted 0-7.
This allowed Leek to settle and compete well as both sides attacked each other for the next 20 minutes with the game going from end to end with the defences cancelling any attacks out.
Leek were always just in control and eventually on 34mins a catch and drive from the Casuals 22 was taken over the line and scored by Gary McDermott as some of the backs joined in the push for the line. The conversion missed 0-12 but this woke the home side up and Leek were lucky not to concede as their winger ran for the line only for a try saving tackle by Ollie Drew to stop him.
Leek spent the end of the first half defending their line as Casuals attacked from all phases. In injury time Leek conceded a penalty which was missed and the whistle ended the first half with Leek working hard to defend their lead.
The second half saw some positional changes and this seemed to spur on the Leek team who started to dominate the game in the loose and were quicker to move the ball in the backs. Gary McDermott kicked another penalty after 45 mins to go 0-15 and this seemed to spur on the team. Within minutes a great pick up and break by Floyd again set up Eddie Harrison to scorch up the field and offload to James Wilson who scored. Gary McD converted to go 0-22
After 20 minutes of the second half Casuals were able to force Leek back into their 22 metre area. Following several lineouts and mauls a loose kick and rebound off another player saw Casuals score and convert making the score 7-22. This soon became 7-25 after another McDermott penalty and Leek started to show more confidence. They ran the ball from defence on several occasions only to see Harrison and Floyd being stopped short of the line.
With 10 minutes left Leek ran the ball and saw Luke Granger crash through the middle, offload to Ben Smith who gave a scoring pass to Nick Palmer score now 7-30. Leek continued to show their attacking ability and after a lineout catch and drive the ball when from Gary McDermott to Luke Granger and then on to see Ed Harrison drive over the line. Gary McDermott converted and the final whistle followed with Leek winning 7-37 in a good game against an awkward Casuals team.
5 tries for the team and a 17 point haul for captain Gary McDermott was a great result for Leek and continues their unbeaten run this season. All the new players in the team did well this week as did the regulars and all the team can be congratulated on their fantastic defensive work and the willingness to attack when they see the space.
This Saturday at the club sees the 1xv at home to Aston Old Edwardians who will have much to prove as they lie close to the bottom of the table. It will be an exciting game for the home crowd so please come and support the players -Kick off 3pm.
The game is being sponsored this week by our club sponsor Esterchem and is followed by an Aussie night out –fancy dress and bush tucker trials!!
Author Gareth Jones