Sat 18
1st XV
Newcastle (Staffs)


By Michael Whitehouse
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Leek avenged the early season defeat at Newcastle with a 6 try win to extend their winning run to 10 league matches.

It was also their 8th win at home this season and remains the only unbeaten statistic in the league following Walsall’s loss at home to Stourbridge Lions.

Leek had to juggle their back line this week with Gary McDermott unavailable. His brother Rob took over at 10 partnering Dan Needham at half back.
George Hunt moved to 12 as the Moorlanders welcomed back Nick Palmer after his brief stints at Newcastle and Derby this season.
Fast improving Tom Scragg and Matt Leadingham were on the wings with Sam Hunt at full back.
Lee Williams was back with Ed and Bobby Cheadle in the front row. Luke Hardern was back with Ben Barlow at lock.
Luke Staton, Joel Booth and Reece Milner made up the strong backrow that was so effective last week.
On the bench, Ad Smith, Ed Harrison and Ollie Drew.

Leek’s players were totally focussed as the game commenced and took just over the first minute to register the first try.
An offside decision gave Leek the chance for a lineout on Newcastle’s 10 metre line.
Great hands and a nice move in midfield gave Tom Scragg the chance on the right wing to hand off his man and sprint for the line.
He did it superbly and touched down on the right. Sam Hunt missed the conversion but Leek had started well at 5-0.

As it turned out Newcastle’s only chance at points came in the 4th minute when they were awarded a penalty for hands in the ruck and then given another
10 metres as Leek players back chatted the referee. However, the penalty attempt went wide.
It took until the 19th minute for the next try. Leek were pressing in the Newcastle 22 and won a penalty for offside on the 5 metre line.
A kick for the lineout led to a familiar result as the forwards caught the ball and drove the maul over the line with Joel Booth on hand to touch down for the try on the left. Sam Hunt converted and Leek were up to 12-0.

The 3rd try came on 26 minutes. A penalty for holding on in the tackle led to another lineout in Newcastle’s 22. A catch by Booth and a solid maul,
initially held up by the organised Newcastle forwards, eventually got a 2nd wind and Rob McDermott crashed over at the back of the maul.
The conversion missed from the left corner but at 17-0, Leek was now looking for the bonus point try,
As the half closed out Leek could have scored that try. A penalty for ruck interference led to a line in the Newcastle 22. A further penalty for bringing the jumper down
led to another penalty and a yellow card for the flanker. At the next lineout though, Leek infringed and Newcastle cleared to end the half at 17-0.

The 2nd half opened with Leek looking to score in the opening minute again and only a knock on under the posts prevented it. However,
the relentless pressure was building on the brave Newcastle defence and a clearance kick only found Sam Hunt on 43 minutes on the left on Newcastle’s 10 metre line.
He quickly moved the ball right and at the quick ruck, the ball sped left. Lacking defenders on that side let Leek’s backs’ quick hands release George Hunt for a 22 metre sprint in by the posts.

Brother Sam duly converted and Leek was up to 24-0 with the bonus point try secured.
Leek extended the lead in the 51st minute. A penalty for holding on led to a lineout on Newcastle’s 22. A good break by Joel Booth led to a couple of rucks and then
Dan Needham shifted the ball to the blind side. Again, Newcastle’s defence was outnumbered and Luke Hardern crashed through a tackle to score the 5th try.
Sam Hunt missed the conversion. 29-0.

To be fair to Newcastle, every player was trying very hard and as a team they never gave up and it now was proven as they held their own for the next 25 minutes.
Although not looking likely to score, they competed at the breakdown and tried to run the ball. They were coming up against a well organised Leek defense but still probed and tried to look for an opening. Then on 77 minutes, Tom Scragg received the ball on Newcastle’s 22 and the strong wing jinked his way at first and then with several defenders on him was held up over the line.
The Leek scrum produced a penalty for offside. This led to a lineout and the catch and drive allowed Ad Smith to break off close to the line and crash over for the final score of the day.
The conversion missed and the game ended with Leek winners at 34-0.

It was a strong performance against a battling Newcastle side with a few injuries to contend with. The visitors have been going well in the last 2 months and will have to regroup now
as Old Salts pulled off a surprise win at Kidderminster by 10-39.
Stourbridge Lions had a tremendous bonus point win at Walsall, 9-30, and Tamworth moved into 4th place with a 34-10 win against Stafford.
Veseyans scored over 100 points without reply against Shrewsbury and Camp Hill were denied a bonus point by Old Yards, winning 25-20.

This week is another week off.
On Saturday the 6 nations resumes with the 2 live games on the big screen at the club.
Scotland v Wales at 2.25pm and then Ireland v France at 4.50pm.
On Sunday, England take on Italy at 3pm. Club will be open following the junior sessions in the morning.

Then on Saturday, March 4th, Leek resume in the league with a trip to Old Salts. KO 2.15
Leek’s next home league game is on March 11th against Old Yards.

Finally, a big thank you to Breeze House for sponsoring the game on Saturday and bringing so many members and guests with them.
We hope you had an enjoyable day with your friends, family and club members

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Match details

Match date

Sat 18, Feb 2017




Midlands 2 West (North)

League position

Newcastle (Staffs)