......Leek held on for a 5 point win and denied Tamworth any points to get the season off to a great start.
Both teams had the intention to throw the ball around despite the wet conditions and Leek conceded early after advantage from a knock on in the 1st minute allowed a pick up and pass for the visitors to score under the posts.
The conversion was good and Tamworth led 0-7.
It got worse for Leek after 5 minutes when an offside decision allowed the Tamworth fullback to increase the lead to 10-0.
From the kick-off Leek won a penalty for offside and 3 scrums in the right corner showed Leek’s dominance in this area. It resulted in a yellow card for the Tamworth lock but for all the 8 minutes’ worth of pressure, Tamworth finally cleared
as Ollie Drew was penalised at the next scrum.
Both teams were playing at 100 miles an hour as the ball was flashed through hands and ruck clear outs made for continuous action but it was Leek’s version of it that was now dominating and on 18 minutes a flurry of passes and rucks led
to Sam Hunt being left clear to score a try by the posts. Gary McDermott converted and it was 7-10.
Tamworth’s 2nd yellow card on 24 minutes for tackling within 10 metres from a quick penalty led to more pressure and after Lee Williams drove the ball in on the right side on 27 minutes, Gary McDermott hoisted a kick to the left wing where
George Hunt collected the ball and touched down for Leek’s 2nd try. The conversion missed but Leek had taken the lead for the first time at 12-10.
Tamworth needed to get back in the game and they won a penalty at a scrum on 33 minutes as Leek collapsed. The penalty was duly converted to give the visitors the lead back at 12-13.
With the half closing down, Sam Hunt grubber kicked through to the Tamworth 5 metre line and Leek won a lineout. Rucking and driving ensued by the forwards before quick hands allowed George Hunt to break a tackle and score his 2nd try near the posts.
McDermott converted and the half time whistle went with Leek retaking the lead at 19-13.
Leek opened the 2nd half brightly and won a penalty deep in the Tamworth 22 for a high tackle. This resulted in another yellow card for Tamworth as McDermott converted to extend the Leek lead to 22-13 on 43 minutes.
Andy Thompson came on after 50 minutes, replacing the hard working Simon Drew in the back row. Leek were dominating the game now and a clearance on 56 minutes only found Dan Sharratt on the half way line. He evaded a couple of tackles and the
forwards offloaded well to leave a gap that scrum half Ollie Drew exploited as he sprinted through from the Tamworth 22 for a try by the posts. McDermott converted to give Leek the try bonus point and lift the score to 29-13.
On 60 minutes, Jack Conlon came on at lock for Ben Barlow but a good kick through from the Tamworth centre had Leek on the back foot and they conceded a lineout on the left in the 22. Following a Leek knock on, Tamworth’s scrum held and
after a couple of rucks the fly half made a break selling 2 dummies and darting by the posts for a great try. The conversion was good and at 29-20 with 15 minutes to go, the game was in the balance.
However, it was Leek that turned up the pressure as they spent the entire 15 minutes in Tamworth territory. The rain was battering down at this stage and both teams should be congratulated for still playing the running game. Leek came close
a couple of more times to scoring but brave defence and tiredness combined to prevent another score.
The game ended with a fracas as the forwards lost concentration and the whistle went to end a very entertaining opening game.
Tamworth will be disappointed at not getting a point from the game and Leek played well enough and deserved their bonus.
See Attached Team Photo ahead of the game.
Leek Team ; S Hunt; D Sharratt, N Palmer, G Hunt, T Graham; G McDermott, O Drew; R Cheadle, E Cheadle, L Williams; L Hardern, B Barlow; S Drew, L Staton, J Booth
Bench; A Smith, J Conlon, A Thompson.
Next week is a free weekend for the 1sts as they have a bye in the 1st round of the RFU Midlands Cup.
In other matches Whitchurch, coming down a league, won 50-0 at Cleobury Mortimer, coming up a league.
Newcastle beat Old Salts 8-0 and Crewe beat Walsall 39-22. Spartans beat Ludlow and Veseyans beat Kidderminster 22-24.
Veseyans host Leek in their fixture on Saturday, 23rd September before Leek ‘s next home league game on 30th September against Staffs rivals Walsall.
Author John M