Neither team played well and both knew that mistakes would be costly- which inhibited the choices made by each team. The final score was a draw seeing both sides disappointed with missed chances and both having enough opportunities to win. This was the first draw in the league although the previous Staffs cup game had been drawn. The Leek committee were entertained at lunch by the Stoke committee and both looked forward to a good game
Leek started with a similar team to last week but with Naz Narawa ill, the centres were Nick Palmer and Kini Buli, wings James Floyd and Tom Laverick with Isaac Reaney at fullback. Gary McDermott paired with Ollie Drew as halfbacks
Ed and Bobbie Cheadle plus Adam Kelly made up the front row with locks Ed Harrison and Phil Tomczak. Luke Staton and George Hunt made up the back row with Andy Thompson and the replacements were Reece Milner, Lee Williams and Dan Cooper
The game started with both sides trying to move the ball wide but each attack broke down until Leek had a solid scrum on Stoke's 10 metre line.The ball was moved the blindside with Gary McDermott then passing to James Floyd who beat a man and then passed back inside to send McDermott in for a try after only 4minutes of the game, The conversion was missed but Leek gained confidence by being in front 0-5. A few minutes later Leek increased the lead when Mac Dermott kicked a penalty from the 10 metre line for a Stoke player not rolling away 0-8
Both sides worked hard for the next 20 minutes of the game but were penalised heavily by the referee as each teams' skills and discipline let them down.
Eventually Leek were found under pressure on their own 5 metre line and after a forward pass stopped Stoke scoring a quickly taken penalty saw the home winger go over in the corner. The conversion taken by Andy Marsh saw Stoke closing the lead after 32 mins to 7-8
Soon after the restart a Stoke attack was intercepted and Leek charged for the line only to see Isaac Reaney held up in the corner. However,the referee came back to a Stoke player being offside in front of the posts and Gary McDermott kicked the easy penalty to see Leek extend the lead to 7-11. Soon after the first half finished with the referee talking to both captains as each team continued to make mistakes and become frustrated by some decisions.
Leek kicked off the second half and for the next 10 minutes Stoke drove powerful at Leek who gave away lots of penalties but succeeded in keeping Stoke away from their line.
After 23 minutes a Stoke scrum allowed their backs to attack with a long kick into which went into touch on Leek's 5 metre line. A catch and drive saw a Stoke forward dive over the line for a try converted by Andy Marsh which put Stoke in the lead 14-11 with 15 minutes left.
For the next 10 minute Leek saw more of the ball and pushed Stoke back into their own half and although a penalty attempt was missed after 33 mins another penalty was kicked into the Stoke corner. A lineout catch and drive looked to be heading for the line but the referee gave accidental offside against the Leek player.
As the clock went into injury time Leek continued to press and eventually were given a penalty for offside against Stoke
Well into injury time Gary McDermott kicked the penalty to tie the scores and the whistle finished the game a 14-14 draw.
In all the game was a mixture of good and bad with both sides not having the confidence to keep possession and dominate the other side. Lots of mistakes from the players and frustrating refereeing decisions left both sides and coaches disappointed with the result.
Next Saturday October 3rd Leek play at home against second placed Stratford who shared the honours with Leek last year as each side won at home. We will be looking forward to a hard entertaining match kick off at 3pm at Esterchem Park Cheddleton
Before that the past captains of Leek will be sitting down to lunch at 12.30 -organised by Andy Worth.
The Leek Vets team will also play its first game of the season against Stafford Vets ko 2pm.
After the game the Bushtucker Trials -an unusual eating competition-start at 6p!!
Then England v Australia is on TV at 8pm !! Lets fill the club again
Author Gareth Jones