From the kick-off, Leek put themselves under pressure with a knock on but working their way up to half way on 5 minutes, a try down the right wing looked on until a timely interception from the Old Yards left wing had him sprinting for the try line in the opposite direction.
A tackle from Gary McDermott stopped him 5 metres short but good backup had the fullback over the line and under the posts for the home side’s 1st try. Duly converted, Old Yards led 7-0.
5 minutes later, after a ruck in Leek’s half, a mild incident turned worse and Joel Booth was yellow carded. The resultant penalty had Old Yards steaming towards Leek’s line when the referee blew for Dan Needham mouthing at him, following his interjection at the first yellow card.
He was also yellow carded and Old Yards slotted the penalty to increase their lead to 10-0 on 10 minutes.
With 13 men, Leek started to gain some territory and had their first penalty on 16 minutes. McDermott kicked for the lineout and great possession and offloading had the Moorlanders up to the Old Yards line before a knock on cleared the lines.
With Joel Booth back on, McDermott was successful with a penalty on 25 minutes for a deliberate knock on. 10-3.
5 minutes later and Old Yards were reduced to 14 men for a chat back at the referee.
This led to Leek’s first try when good handling and rucking down the left gave Leek an overlap under the posts and Matt Leadingham went over unchallenged. McDermott levelled the scores at 10 all with the conversion.
On 34 minutes, Old Yards were reduced to 13 men as yet another player was carded for chatting to the referee. The referee was nothing but consistent and following this card, the game developed more structure and discipline from both sides after a fraught first 35 minutes.
The penalty to Leek allowed for a lineout on Yards 22. A catch and controlled drive sent the defence over their own line for Luke Hardern to crash over at the back and score Leek’s 2nd try. McDermott missed the conversion. 10-15.
As the half ended in added time, Leek scored a great try. Sam Hunt made a nice break and then Naz Narawa, playing his first game of the season, broke the line and set up an overlap. As the forwards got involved, Dan Needham picked up and scored from close range.
McDermott missed the conversion and the half time whistle blew on an eventful first half with Leek holding a 10-20 lead.
Coach Lee Pickles made no changes at the half and Leek started the 2nd half on the front foot. A clearance kick out of the Old Yards 22 only found Tom Scragg on 48 minutes. The wing found Matt Leadingham who weaved his way towards the 22. The forwards then took over and rucked to the 5 metre line.
The defence was sucked in and Luke Hardern went over unchallenged for Leek’s 4th try. McDermott converted at 10-27.
From the kick-off, Leek appeared to have scored another try. Just simple hands left from the catch had Old Yards napping and Kini Buli went over in the left corner, but in dotting the ball down he lost control and Old Yards cleared from the scrum.
Adam Smith had come on at prop and his intervention gave Leek an added dimension in the loose and on 52 minutes he had scored Leek’s 5th try near the posts after another run by full back Matt Leadingham. McDermott converted and at 10-34, Leek looked safe.
However, the home side then played their best rugby of the day and on 59 minutes, following a series of rucks in the Leek 22, the Moorlanders were penalised for offside and the Old Yards pack rumbled Leek over their own line from a scrum. The conversion was excellent from the right touch and at 17-34, Old Yards were beginning a fightback.
They continued to dominate possession for the next 5 minutes and had a chance on 63 minutes to reduce the deficit further but the penalty for hands in ruck went just wide.
On 64 minutes, Leek gave a 1st team debut to 17 years old Elliot Anderson on the left wing. The rise through the junior ranks of this exciting youngster didn’t take long to be confirmed as he and Matt Leadingham combined down the left for Anderson to make a scoring pass to Leadingham, rounding off a superb afternoon for the fullback. The conversion missed but the score had dented any further revival hopes the home team had at 17-39.
As the game entered the last play, a good blindside break by Luke Staton saw the lock get near the line and his pass to winger Tom Scragg saw the right wing crash over for Leek’s 7th try. McDermott’s conversion missed but at 17-44 the game ended on a high note for the Moorlanders.
Overall, this was a solid away performance by Leek. The side had a number of changes from the previous outing against Old Salts but all players stepped up and in a spirited showing against a side that is in a false position with unlucky defeats to their name, Leek look forward to a home fixture this Saturday against Shrewsbury.
In other results, Stourbridge (1st, 37pts) beat Veseyans (7th, 19pts) and Camp Hill (2nd, 36pts) beat Stafford (6th, 20pts). Walsall (3rd, 30pts) just overcame Tamworth (8th, 17pts) to record a 4 point win allowing Leek (4th, 27pts) to creep 1 point closer to them. Kidderminster (5th, 20pts) won at Shrewsbury (11th, 6pts) and Old Salts (9th, 14pts) got the better of Newcastle (12th, 6pts). Old Yards (9pts) defeat kept them in 10th spot.
This Saturday, Leek entertains their old adversaries from Shrewsbury. Kick-off is at 2.15pm.
There is then a week’s break before Leek travels to Stafford on December 10th and then the Moorlanders end the first half of the season with a match against Stourbridge Lions at EsterChem Park on December 17th.