Sat 08
1st XV
Stoke on Trent
Leek v Stoke Match Report

Leek v Stoke Match Report

By Michael Whitehouse
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For the 4th consecutive league match, Stoke scored 50 points and underlined their intent this season with a display of confidence, tactical acumen and fitness that the Leek side could not live with, but would do well to aspire too.

It was no disgrace for the Moorlanders who gave as good an account of themselves as possible, but could not live with Stoke in any aspect of the game.

With Jamie Clarke injured, Dave Ackerley took over at tight head with Jason Milner and Jo Taylor making up the front row.
Tom Sims was partnered by Tom Hine at lock and Matt Slinn, Ad Nettel and Andy McFadden made up the back row.
Simon Drew was at half back with Gary McDermott. Shane Dicker and Nick Palmer were at centre with Ollie Drew and George Hunt on the wings and Sam Hunt at full back.

The rain that had fallen in the morning was not stopping as the game kicked off, so the conditions were wet underfoot as Leek kicked off and were awarded a 1st minute penalty for the tackler not rolling away. Sam Hunt stepped up to put Leek on the board at 3-0
3 minutes later and Stoke won a penalty as Leek's scrum was penalised for collapsing, but the attempt went wide.
It took until the 12th minute for Stoke to score their first try as the forwards and backs combined to get into Leek's 22. A simple ball wide saw the Stoke right wing score a try. The conversion was good and Stoke led 7-3.

On the 20th minute, a catch and drive from a lineout on Leek's 5 metre line saw the Stoke forwards score a simple pushover try, again converted to extend the lead to 14-3.
Respite for Leek from the kick saw Sam Hunt with a penalty attempt as Stoke were penalised for off the feet in a ruck, but the kick went wide.
Then on 28 minute, Leek won a penalty at the scrum for not binding and from the resulting lineout in the Stoke 22, the Leek forwards combined well to release McDermott whose inside pass to Ollie Drew saw the young wing slip under the full back's tackle but in the act of scoring, the wet ball was lost forward and Leek's only real sniff of a try had gone.

A fracas had started off the ball after the initial lineout which saw Tom Sims and his counterpart yellow carded, but this only left the resulting Stoke scrum more solid. It took until the 2nd minute of injury time though for Stoke to score again from a scrum on Leek's 22. A run blind from the centres saw a good tackle on the line prevent the score initially, but the support was quick and a simple touchdown saw Stoke extend their lead to 19-3 as the half ended.

During half time, it became apparent Simon Drew had taken a knock to the head and he had to be helped from the field and that meant his brother Ollie moved from the wing to scrum half, allowing Lee Williams to come on in the centre and Nick Palmer to move to his favoured wing position.
It took Stoke 4 minutes to score their first try of the 2nd half and it was a demoralising score to concede. Leek had cleared to touch outside their 22 and from the ensuing lineout, Stoke's forwards drove Leek, in a controlled maul, all the way over their own line into the right hand corner. An appeal of truck trailering from Leek was ignored as the powerful maul could not be countered. the conversion was missed, but at 24-3, Stoke had secured the 4 try bonus point already.
On 50 minutes, a similar maul was held up on Leek's line. The 5 metre scrum was disrupted by Leek illegally and a quick penalty and kick for the corner was thwarted by good defence.
On 55 minutes Jamie Gordon came on at prop as Tom Hine withdrew, allowing Dave Ackerley to move into lock.

At 59 minutes, Stoke's 5th try was unfortunate as first Leek knocked on but in the advantage as the Stoke centre kicked for the corner, his massive knock on was missed by the referee and as Sam Hunt desperately tried to touch down over the line, the bounce of the ball favoured the Stoke centre and he touched down for the score. A great conversion ensued and Stoke were up to 31-3.
On 67 minutes, Neil Edge came on in the back row as skipper Jason Milner went off with a cut head which meant further disruption for the Leek forwards and on 75 minutes Leek were shoved off their own ball and only an illegal attempt to slow the ball stopped another try. Nick Palmer was yellow carded for the offence. Stoke opted to scrum and from the feed, the referee awarded a penalty try as Leek deliberately wheeled the scrum. An easy conversion later and Stoke were up to 38-3

It would have been about right if the scoring had finished there, but Leek had to endure 2 more injury time tries as first on 81 minutes a clearance kick found the Stoke backs lined up on the open side and their quick hands saw the right wing collect his 2nd try of the day to lift Stoke to 43-3 and then from the kick off, as Leek pressed in the Stoke 22, a deft chip by the fly half saw the centre kick ahead. although, claims of offside were heard, Stoke's excellent scrum half then kicked the ball all the way to Leek's line for a score under the posts. The conversion lifted the final score to 50-3 as the whistle blew for no side.

Stoke's tactical skill was clearly in evidence all afternoon as the fly half kicked for the corners and kept Leek pinned down in the wet conditions. Realising it was no use kicking the ball back to Stoke nor clearing to touch, the 2nd half saw Leek at least trying to run the ball and keep possession, but at each turnover or loss of possession, Leek was punished and Stoke's defence was too strong for any real pressure to be applied by the Moorlanders.
Nevertheless, Leek will have learned a lot from the experience and next week's RFU cup encounter at F Ball Park with near neighbours Ashbourne from Midlands 2 East will be a game to check out progress.
Kick off is at 3pm and everyone is welcome.

Thanks to match sponsor Brian Mellor Financial services last Saturday and along with the past captain's lunch (15 former captains attended) and friends from Stoke the match attendance was 150.

Leek's next league encounter is on Saturday, October 22nd when they must travel to Lordswood Dixonians. Currently the Birmingham based outfit has enjoyed a solid start to the season and lie in 4th place.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 08, Oct 2011




Midlands 2 West (North)