Sat 24
1st XV
24th September Leek v Newcastle

24th September Leek v Newcastle

By Michael Whitehouse
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This week saw the 1st round of the National RFU cup competitions. Leek will play in the Intermediate RFU Cup for clubs at level 7. For the 1st round this season.

Leek has had a bye and so with Newcastle also having a bye in their competition, the Senior Vase, it seemed like a good idea to play each other before important league games next week

It gave Leek the chance to start Jamie Gordon at prop and try skipper Jason Milner at hooker with the continued absence of Luke Granger and with Jamie Clarke coming back from injury, he also started at prop and is also a very good lineout thrower in.
Tom Sims and Luke Hardern are forging a young, strong lock partnership now and the back row saw Luke Staton at No.8 with Neil Edge and Andy McFadden on the flanks.
Simon Drew started at scrum half with Gary McDermott at 10. Ollie Drew and Lucas Buxton were on the wings and Shane Dicker and Nick Palmer were in the centres with Sam Hunt at full back.

Newcastle are currently 2nd in Midlands 3 West (N), a division below Leek, but having won 2 out of 2 so far are lying a close 2nd there, so a competent showing was expected.
In perfect conditions, Leek started strongly and only a dropped ball near the line prevented Andy McFadden from scoring on 6 minutes.
The scrum ball following saw Leek force a turnover and quick ball from Simon Drew saw Shane Dicker on the charge for a simple enough try. Sam Hunt converted and leek led 7-0.
From the kick off, Leek were caught offside, but Newcastle's penalty attempt was poor.

As Leek continued to apply pressure, they were running the ball well and recycling and on 16 minutes were deep in the Newcastle 22 when the visitor's lock pinched the ball and sped up the right wing unopposed. His kick in field and into the Leek 22 saw Leek's defence unable to control the ball and with the Newcastle backs up, a simple passing move saw the visitors score a nice try. The conversion was missed but at 7-5, Leek had been given a wake up call.
2 minutes later and a head collision between Luke Staton and Neil Edge saw them both replaced in the blood bin by newcomer John Hall and Jo Taylor.

On 21 minutes, a strong Leek lineout in the Newcastle 22 again saw Shane Ducker on the burst and he flashed through tackles to score near the posts. Hunt converted again and Leek were up to 14-5.
From the kick off, Leek tried to work their way out of their own half, but a poor kick only found the Newcastle right wing and his pace took him around the Leek cover to score a neat try in the right corner. Again the conversion was missed but Newcastle had scored 2 tries and were up to 14-10.

Play up to half time was inventive and fluid if not able to produce any further score and both teams were reasonably satisfied at the break.
Leek came out in the 2nd half more determined and were on the score board again on 44 minutes as the powerful Leek forwards started to maul from outside the Newcastle 22. Andy McFadden was controlling the ball at the back of the maul and Newcastle were slow to realise leek were going to go the whole way to the line in the maul. McFadden touched down for a really well worked score. Hunt converted and Leek were up to 21-10.

4 minutes later, another maul near the Newcastle line should have produced another score but the ball went forward.
John Hall came on for Jamie Gordon on 66 minutes and Jo Taylor came on for Jason Milner 3 minutes later. As the game drew to a close, Luke Hardern broke through the middle of the Newcastle defence, passed to Tom Sims. The backs supported well with the ball ending up with Nick Palmer,near the right touch. Quick ball saw young Ollie Drew sprint in from close range to score his first try for the 1st team. Hunt again added the extras and Leek were up to 28-10 as the game ended.

It was a good match to view a few players and work on some skills and continuity, but leek's league season continues with a tough encounter at high flying Bridgnorth this Saturday coming. The Shropshire side come off the back of 2 league wins and a cup win, so they will be keen to maintain their 100% start to the season. Leek will be looking to match them across the field and retain the ball as much as possible, whilst being aggressive in defence and giving as few penalties away as possible.
The match kicks off at 3pm for those supporters travelling.

On October 8th, leek returns to F Ball Park for what will surely be the toughest of home matches in the league this season. The visitors will be Stoke who have already despatched Stafford and Moseley Oak with 2 big score this season. Stoke are the reigning National Intermediate Champions and are brimming with confidence at the top of the table, so Leek will need to be at their best to compete.

Kick off is at 3pm for this sponsored game by Brian Mellor Financial Services.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 24, Sep 2011