In a contest that ebbed and flowed, a much improved home side from the one that played at EsterChem Park earlier in the season, took Leek to the brink of defeat but in the end
the Moorlanders cool heads and accurate lineout won the day.
Matt Leadingham was back in the side at full back with Tom Scragg and Dan Sharratt on the wings.
Rob McDermott and George Hunt were in the centres with Gary McDermott and Ollie drew at half back.
Skipper Bobby Cheadle, brother Ed and Lee Williams made up the familiar front row.
Luke Hardern and Ben Barlow were at lock with Reece Milner back in the side at blindside. Andy Thompson and Joel Booth made up the backrow.
On the bench, Ad Smith, Ed Harrison and Dan Needham made up a strong impact team.
The first quarter was an open affair with neither side able to gain an advantage as Leek defended the slight slope but KCs then won a penalty on 21 minutes at the scrum and kicked for the lineout in the Leek half.
A simple catch and quick hands saw the wing enter the line. He went through the gap and the overlap was on for the try in the right corner. Good move.
The conversion missed but KCs had opened the scoring at 5-0.
Gary McDermott missed a 24th minute penalty for a scrum offence before Kidderminster started to mount after a penalty for obstruction. Still the Leek defence was solid until a 37th minute penalty gave
Kidderminster a chance to increase the lead following a ruck offence. However the KC captain’s attempt also missed and the half closed with Leek’s final attempt going begging after the
5 metre lineout was overthrown following a dangerous maul Leek formed had been pulled down.
H/T Kidderminster 5 – 0 Leek.
The 2nd half opened with Leek providing more urgency to their game and only 2 minutes passed before they took the lead. Wining a scrum on the home 5 metre line, it turned into a penalty for the front row coming up and from the
Resulting lineout, a clean catch and drive set Ed Cheadle up to crash over for Leek’s 1st try. McDermott converted from the right to lift the Moorlanders to 5-7.
From the kick-off, Leek knocked on and Kidderminster took advantage, working hard to stretch Leek right then left before creating the overlap on the right for the winger to score another well worked try in the corner.
The conversion failed but KCs had wasted no time in retaking the lead at 10-7 on 46 minutes.
Leek won a penalty on 56 minutes after Matt Leadingham’s jinking run led to an accidental high tackle and McDermott’s attempt was good as the sides drew level at 10 all.
Leek were pressing now and had another chance near the Kidderminster line but lost control as KCs cleared.
Then as the game entered the last 7 minutes, Kidderminster made a break with the No. 8 bursting onto the Leek 10 metre line. Good continuity had the home side near Leek’s line on the left. Leek pinched the ball but knocked on.
The referee allowed advantage and the ball sped left to the prop under the posts. Incredibly, Bobby Cheadle held him up on his back over the line and the game came back for a 5 metre scrum on the right.
Whilst all this was happening, the unlucky Kidderminster No.8 was being carried off with a suspected leg fracture, so at the scrum, his considerable bulk was missed and Leek’s 8 had a superb push to knock the momentum back.
The ball sped away left and Leek won a penalty for not releasing in the tackle after great work by Tom Scragg. The lineout win on 79 minutes following the penalty was won and it looked like Leek had survived the last piece of
KC danger but George Hunt was isolated in the next tackle and Kidderminster were awarded a kickable penalty. This time, the kick was successful and as the clock ticked to 80 minutes, Kidderminster took a deserved lead at 13-10.
It left Leek with precious little time to break back and required them to win the kick-off return. Rob McDermott’s drop kick was met by Joel Booth in the air and his momentum had Leek’s forwards on the front foot.
Moving left to the narrow side drew the defence before good hands right left Tom Scragg a clear run at the full back. A good tackle 5 meters from the home line was followed by a penalty to Leek for next man in at the side and with the
advantage coming to nothing, Leek kicked for the lineout with the last play of the game.
Ed Cheadle’s throwing in had been superb all game as had Ben Barlow’s catching and it needed it once more time to give the Moorlanders a chance to steal the game.
Duly caught, it took Leek’s forwards a few seconds to move off the line of mark before Leek’s backs joined the fray and keep the momentum going to the Kidderminster line.
Gary McDermott crashed over with 3 Leek players on his back to touch down. The referee was unsighted, took his time and awarded the try, correctly.
McDermott then clinched the extras with a touchline conversion to leave the home side stunned.
The last 10 minutes of action had been absorbing as the 2 well matched sides had fought out a close match until the dramatic conclusion.
It leaves Leek holding onto 2nd place as the other 4 sides in the top 5 all won at home.
No game next week but Leek return to action on Saturday February 11th with a crucial home fixture against Walsall. KO 2-15pm.
On that day also is the 2nd round of the 6 Nation championships with Italy v Ireland at 3.25pm and Wales v England at 4-50pm
This Saturday, February 4th is the opening weekend of the 6 Nations with the opening fixture between Scotland and Ireland live at KO 14-25pm
Followed by England v France at Twickenham. KO 4-50pm.
Clubhouse open from 1pm with hot food available. All welcome.