After the previous week's 1xv Rugby game with Wolverhampton was postponed because of bad weather the teams met last Saturday to fulfil the fixture. A much changed Leek side with 9 players unavailable meant that Leek were always likely to be under pressure from Wolves who were third in the league and Leek being seventh
The team was Will Graham,wings Dean Copperwheat and Andy Outram, centres Adam Varley and Nick Palmer and scrum half Dan Needham with Isaac Reaney starting his first game at outside half. The front row was Jacob Bainbridge and DJ Allen at prop with captain Eddie Cheadle hooking. Second rows Andy McFadden returning to play for Leek and Andy Thompson with back row of Tom Fairhurst, Billy Kidd and Joel Booth. Subs were Jack Lawlor, Simon Drew also returning to play and Jamie Gordon.
However with Leek receiving the kick off the players drove hard into attack and took Wolves by surprise for a few minutes. Gradually the powerful visitors began to show that they were confident and strong enough to make constant attacks with the Leek defence working very hard.
On 10mins Wolves were denied a try because of a forward pass and Leek defended well for ten minutes and then Adam Varley made a strong break which led to a penalty . Leek took it quickly but were stopped by the Wolves prop who was given a yellow card for not being ten metres. Isaac Reaney stepped forward and starting the Leek scoring with a penalty. 3-0
25 mins saw Joel Booth given a yellow card for a high tackle and Wolves scrum half levelled the scores 3-3
Andy McFadden had a strong run at the visiting defence and they stopped the Leek momentum. Soon after Will Graham caught the ball and launched a strong attack. He kicked ahead but Wolves broke through tackles and combined for the centre to score under the posts and the no 9 converted to make the score 3-10
With both sides back to full strength the game ebbed and flowed as both sides tried to take charge -with Wolves attacking strongly but missing chances to score with bad passes and good Leek defence holding them out.
Leek's counter attacking was well led by Joel Booth and Eddie Cheadle as Leek worked hard to carry the ball and all the team tackling superbly in defence Then after 37 mins Wolves won a penalty for Leek not releasing and the scoreboard moved to 3-13. The last few minutes of the half saw both sides have attacking lineouts but failing to use them to attack and score. The half finished with Wolves in control and increasing the score with another penalty 3-16
All the spectators and most of the Wolves team thought that the second half would see Leek being overwhelmed by the powerful Wolves team but it did not happen. Leek had much more of the ball and had opportunities to attack and put Wolves under pressure. Gradually Leek seemed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and begin to control the game. Scrums and lineouts were won and lost by both sides in good positions. Strong running and tackling from Nick Palmer and Jacob Bainbridge supported by Andy Thompson and Andy McFadden pushed Leek deep into Wolves half. This together with fantastic tackling from Joel Booth, Bill Kidd and Tom Fairhurst kept Leek in control until 65 mins when a great drive took Jacob Bainbridge over the line for Leek's first try 8-16. The subs were gradually brought on and helped Leek keep up their momentum.
Then 69 mins the best try of the game saw Will Graham and Jack Lawlor inter passing down the touchline before before sending Billy Kidd over for a superb team try superbly converted by Isaac Reaney to make the score 15-16
Author Gareth Jones