WORCESTER WANDERERS v LEEK, MATCH REPORT
By Michael Whitehouse
Leek travelled to Worcester Wanderers for their second league game with a much changed side.
Sam Horton returned at fullback with James Floyd and Dan Sharratt on the wings. Nick Palmer and Liam McDermottt were in the centre and half-backs Gary McDermott and Dan Needham. Adam Keely and the Cheadle brothers filled the front row and Phil Tomczak and Ed Harrison were second row. JamesThomson, George Hunt and Andy Thompson completed the pack with Simon McNicol, Isaac Reaney and Dan Cooper as replacements. The weather was fine and dry with a great surface to play on.
Worcester kicked off and Leek moved the ball through several phases and took the game into the home half and they conceded a penalty after 5 mins which Gary McDermott kicked from the 10m line to lead 0-3. Leek continued to push the home team back with some good passing phases and again they conceded a penalty for offside which Gary McDermott converted to go 0-6 after 14mins. Soon Wanderers got possession and from a lineout and maul on Leek's line George Hunt was yellow carded for collapsing the maul. A series of scrums with the Leek pack under pressure conceded a penalty try for Wanderers to lead 7-6 after 16 mins
Leek had started well but the power and pace of the home side and with a player missing saw Wanderers increase their lead as their second row ran in from 40 yards for a try under the posts after several phases of play 16-6 -24 mins
Within minutes Leek saw the home team press their advantage and score 2 more tries and convert one as the score moved to 26-6 after 30 mins.
The last minutes of the first half saw no more scoring and Leek were back to full strength and trying hard to keep the ball in hand. Leek kept possession well and put Wanderers under pressure but could not get the score they needed. The half finished with Leek attacking the home line but failing to go over HT 26-6
The second half saw a much improved game from Leek as they kept Wanderers from attacking After 13 mins Leek had turned possession into good phases play which saw Simon McNicol take a crash ball and drive for the line. It was moved wide to see Dan Sharratt held up on the line and then a series of pick and drive saw Leek held up short again. In this ruck the referee yellow carded captain Bobby Cheadle for an infringement and Leek's chance had gone after 16 mins.
The stalemate lasted until late in the half as both sides tried to break through and score. Leek had several chances and in one of the attacks saw Dan Sharratt replaced after head injury by Isaac Reaney. On 35 min the Wanderers hooker was yellow carded on his line and from the penalty Dan Needham dived over to score and make it with the conversion 26-13
The final minutes of the game saw Wanderers winger score a breakaway try under the posts to go 33-13. Then Leek finished the half with a great interception try under the posts by Nick Palmer to go 33-20. In injury time as Leek were pressing to score a try to pick up the losing bonus point-the Wanderers flanker was yellow carded. The Leek players tried to turn some good possession into a try but failed as Gary McDermott was stopped short and others were tackled and kept out. Leek just failed to finish the game with another try to pick up a point and finished 33-20
Overall the game was a close contest with Leek's young side working hard against a powerful team with plenty of experience.
Next Saturday Leek play Silhillians at home kick off 3pm and are holding their Annual Beer Festival starting on Friday night as England play Fiji and going on until Sunday pm watching more World Cup matches
On Saturday the club will be launching a book about the history of the club written by Beverley Needham. From 12.30 onwards at the club