Sat 29
1st XV
Leek v Burntwood Match Report

Leek v Burntwood Match Report

By Michael Whitehouse
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Leek's Vice Presidents Day started with the sad news of the passing of rugby club stalwart Dorothy Furmston on the previous day.

She was due to attend the match as she had done so for many years to support the local team that her husband Phil and sons Rob and Rich played for. She will be sadly missed and a minute's silence before the game drew the respect deserved.
President Gareth Jones, in his address to the VPs before the game, paid tribute to Dorothy's lifelong support and thanked her and the many attending VPs for their continued appreciation of Leek Rugby Club.

With a good week's training under their belts, the Leek players hoped that their season would pick up from the performances over the last 3 weeks and despite last week's away win at Dixonians, there was a sense that the side would need to improve again to beat a usually combative Burntwood side smarting itself from a home defeat at the hands of Spartans previously.
With a loss to Burntwood in the Staffs Cup still irritating the Moorlanders, it was a chance to gain some revenge for that early season reverse and this they did with a comprehensive display of rugby, both in attack and defence.

With Dave Ackerley at hooker again and Jason Milner and Joe Taylor at prop, the scrum has a good balance. At lock were Tom Sims and Tom Hine and with Adam Nettel back on the open side flank, Luke Staton back at No8, Andy McFadden moved to blindside flank.
Ian Harris and Gary McDermott were at half back and Shane Dicker and George Hunt war in the centre. Nick Palmer, Adam Smith and Sam Hunt made up the back 3 of a solid looking set of backs.
Luke Granger was welcomed back to the squad and he, along with Dave Kennaway and Tom Bourne made up a strong looking bench.

The pitch was in very good order despite the rain and Leek was soon into its stride when on 3 minutes, a Nick Palmer break down the right wing and into the visitor's 22 looked like it may bring the first score but the unlucky inside pass was just knocked on by the supporting Ian Harris. The Burntwood scrum was pressured though and as the ball squirted out of the side, Harris was quick to pounce on it. A couple of quick rucks 10 metres out, then saw the ball with McDermott and his long miss pass to left wing Adam Smith allowed the speedster to touch down unopposed for a neat first try. Sam Hunt's conversion was excellent and Leek led 7-0 early.

A couple of minutes later and Burntwood were closing in on an equalising score as a good break by the centre saw Leek giving away a scrum on their own 5 metre line. However, Leek's defence was superb and aggressive and eventually Burntwood was penalised for holding on at the tackle and the visitors' best attacking position all game had not produced a point.

On 12 minutes, a sweeping move starting on their own 22 saw the ball collected by Adam Smith on the left wing on half way. He battered his way past his opposite man before being high tackled into touch near the Burntwood line. Ian Harris's quick tapped penalty though saw Leek's momentum maintained and the short pass to alert Sam Hunt saw the full back crash over for Leek's 2nd try. He couldn't convert his own score, but Leek were up to 12-0.

On 16 minutes, Leek was penalised for a high tackle, but the penalty attempt went wide and as Burntwood attacked again on 22 minutes, the backs knocked on and Leek took advantage from their own 22 as Sam Hunt broke clear down the right wing. He took the tackle on half way but the quick ruck ball saw the attack maintained as the ball sped to Adam Smith on the left wing. He again rounded the defence and his inside pass to Dave Ackerley saw the hooker go over for a great try. The conversion was missed, but at 17-0 and 3 tries already, Leek was now looking for their first bonus point of the season.
The home side had to wait until the last minute of the half to secure that bonus point as good Burntwood defence held up Leek's attacks, but then on 40 minutes, Leek's attritional rucking and mauling saw them attacking the heart of the Burntwood defence until eventually Adam Nettel found himself under the posts with the ball to score a great team try. Sam Hunt converted and Leek ended the half with a 24-0 lead.

2 minutes into the 2nd half and Jason Milner pinched a maul ball on half way and his pass to Shane Dicker on the blindside then released the big inside centre on a strong run. He evaded 3 would be tacklers to score his opening try of what turned out to be an amazing 2nd half hatrick. Sam Hunt converted in off the post and Leek was at 31-0.

On 50 minutes, Adam Nettel left the field holding a hamstring and Luke Granger came on to the flank.
On 66 minutes, Dave Kennaway replaced Ian Harris at scrum half.

On 69 minutes, Leek's forwards again were driving quickly down the left side after a lineout win. Quick rucking again and Shane Dicker was under the posts for his 2nd try. Sam Hunt converted and the lead was now 38-0.

Tom Bourne came on for Joe Taylor on 72 minutes and another sweeping move involving forwards and backs from their own half allowed Nick Palmer to use his pace and pass to Shane Dicker. His decisive tackle break allowed the centre to complete his hatrick on 74 minutes. Sam Hunt missed the conversion and Leek had completed the scoring at 43-0 with a 7 try haul.

Burntwood deserve credit for the way the side bravely defended, but with injuries to contend with, they need some luck to stem the current run of results.

Next week sees Leek involved in a friendly match against Burton 2nds at Peel Croft. Kick off is now 2.15pm.
Leek's next league encounter is on Saturday, November 12th, away at 2nd placed Old Saltleians. Kick off 2.15pm
Leek's next home league match in on Saturday, November 19th, when the visitors are Shrewsbury. Kick off 2.15pm

Leek's win moved the Moorlanders to 5th from 7th and the size of the win moved their points difference into positive territory again. 3 points separates the teams from 3rd to 7th, whilst at the foot of the table, Moseley Oak's win over Shrewsbury leaves the Shropshire side still without a point.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 29, Oct 2011




Midlands 2 West (North)