.... and with their collective mental strength restored came up against an under strength Old Salts team travelling to the Moorlands with a bare 15 players and with players playing out of positon as well.
It was a recipe for a big score and so it proved with Leek scoring no fewer than 13 tries of which Gary McDermott converted 12 for Leek to record an exceptional result.
It could have been worse for Old Salts as 4 other tries went begging in the act of scoring but credit to them, they never gave up and played the game with an undaunted spirit.
The tries came at regular intervals with the first 6 in the opening half.
First on 2 minutes was from a lineout in the Old Salts 22 . Lee Williams burst through the middle of the line after the ball bobbled backwards and scored.
On 12 minutes, George Hunt went under the posts after another lineout win and simple hands and movement in midfield.
Dan Needham then added two tries on 20 minutes and 30 minutes. Luke Hardern instigated the first of these with a charging run attracting defenders allowing Needham to score unchallenged and then following a couple of rucks close to the line, Dan drove over from close range to take the try bonus point on 30 minutes.
From the kick-off, Ed Harrison went on a bulwarking run, handing defenders off at will before the ball was lost forward on Old Salts 22. The clearance found Tom Scragg and Andy Thompson went over for the first of his 3 tries on 33 minutes.
Salts had a lineout in Leek’s 22 on 37 minutes, but then followed a knock on and offside in the centre. A quick tap and the Leek backs were off with George Hunt over the half way line, drawing the man and passing to Simon Drew for the flanker to score Leek’s 6th try, all converted by Gary McDermott to leave the half time score at 42-0.
It is difficult to keep the momentum sometimes when there is a break in the game so it was interesting to see the Leek bench come on at the half. What followed was bizarre as Leek spurned 3 tries in the act of scoring on 41, 45 and 47 minutes. Firstly Dan Needham lost control in a one handed touch down attempt. Then Adam Smith knocked on in the act of scoring before Dan Sharratt, having got over the line and trying to come under the posts, went over the dead ball line.
However a minute later, from the 22 drop out, Andy Thompson scored his 2nd try after good hands and continuity left him in the clear on 48 minutes.
3 minutes later and again good offloading and support left Adam Smith taking the last pass to score a try on 51 minutes.
Then Tom Scragg got on the score sheet on 60 minutes with a couple of neat sidesteps near the posts.
4 minutes later and Dan Sharratt did score his try after Old Salts pressed in the Leek 22 only for the ball to be stripped and the Leek backs put left wing Sharratt in the clear for the 10th try and 70-0 with all tries converted by McDermott.
From the kick-off, Leek ran the ball back hard and eventually Adam Smith scored his 2nd try on 67 minutes.
Then followed Old Salts’ best passage of play. They won a penalty outside Leek’s 22 and kicked for the lineout. Another penalty for offside saw the forwards reach the line and then another penalty for off feet gave the visiting forwards a chance to drive over the line to score a deserved try. Unfortunately the conversion missed but they were on the board at 77-5 on 72 minutes.
Leek came straight back and the industrious inside centre Jack Conlon crashed over for a try after Leek’s scrum shoved their visitor’s pack off the all on their own 5 metre line. McDermott missed this conversion but there was still time for one more try on 80 minutes after a strong run down the left wing by Dan Sharratt left Andy Thompson in the clear for the flanker to score his 3rd and Leek’s final and 13th try of the day. McDermott converted and the game ended one play later as the light began to fade.
It had been a restorative afternoon for the Leek squad and they now have a week off before travelling to Old Yardleians on 19th November and the next home league game at EsterChem Park is on Saturday, 26th November against Shrewsbury.
In other games, Stourbridge Lions (32 points) maintained top spot with a 24-34 away win at Tamworth (16 points). Camp Hill (31 points) kept the pressure up though in 2nd with a 51-8 win at home to Shrewsbury (6 points).
3rd placed Walsall (26 points) beat Newcastle (5 points) 45-5 and Stafford (20 points) lost at Veseyans (19 points) by 13-5, allowing Leek (22 points) to move up to 4th place.
Kidderminster (15 points) beat Old Yardleians (9 points) by 51-14.
Author John McDermott