With the team at full strength, it was frustrating to find that the River Avon had burst its banks some days ago and was lying on the Newbold grounds.
On Saturday morning, it appeared the match was playable as the water lying on the pitch in the bottom corner was not a serious danger, but by the time Leek’s players arrived, the tide was still rising and ankle deep water was lying over the touchline, in goal area and a portion of the playing area within 5 metres of the try line.
Despite the best efforts of all concerned, Leek’s management couldn’t agree to start the game and so the match was abandoned.
The date for the game to be played now is on Saturday February 22nd and this takes precedence over postponed league matches in the intervening 2 weeks. It means, should the Avon’s waters abate, the game will start at 2pm on February 22nd.
In the other semi-final, there was a surprise result. Bridgnorth from Leek’s Midland’s West 2 (N) league stunned the leaders of Midlands 2 East (S), Leighton Buzzard, with a 21 – 18 away victory.
To put it into perspective, Leighton Buzzard was England’s only remaining undefeated team in all competitions this season and had won the Rugby World magazine’s team on the month for its efforts. Well done Bridgnorth.
Safe to relate, Leek’s next league opponents, this Saturday, February 8th, at Esterchem are ? …………… Bridgnorth.
Bridgnorth has won 6 league games in a row and come into the game with the best current form and having beaten Leighton Buzzard, they will be full of confidence. It is heard that a couple of recruitments has helped lift the side in the last 2 months and looking at results, it seems to have worked.
Leek remains the only side this season to defeat Bridgnorth at home, albeit, it took a last kick penalty from Gary McDermott to overhaul the buoyant Shropshire side back in October. With Leek’s home record coming under pressure in recent games, the Moorlanders will have to be on top of their game to compete with Bridgnorth and a tough encounter is expected.
One league match was played last Saturday, when Crewe and Nantwich defeated Tamworth 29-12 to win with a bonus point. This lifted the Cheshire side back up to 2nd place, 8 points behind Leek, still with a game in hand.
The league race is wide open and there is still a long way to go this season with luck and injuries sure to play their part in the outcome.
Kick off this Saturday is at 2.15pm at Esterchem Park.
On February 15th, Leek travels to Camp Hill.
Author John McDermott