Sat 10
1st XV
Shrewsbury v Leek, Match Report

Shrewsbury v Leek, Match Report

By Michael Whitehouse
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Leek maintained the pressure on those clubs around them in the division with a bonus point win at bottom side Shrewsbury.

With both usual centres missing, still Leek's explosive outside backs caused enough damage to break the game up to support the loose forwards and create chances to score 4 tries.
Centres Shane Dicker and George Hunt were both out injured and Dave Kennaway and Ian Harris took their places with the rest of the backs in familiar mode.
The front 5 was as usual and with Andy McFadden having been ill, he was benched, allowing Matt Slinn onto the flank with Ad Nettel and Luke Staton back at No8.

Leek started brightly down field with the wind across the field and against them first half, but an early penalty for offside on half allowed McDermott to kick for the lineout on Shrewsbury's 22. A well taken catch in the middle by Tom Sims and then feedback to Jason Milner at the tail of the maul started the 22 metre drive for the Shrewsbury line that resulted in the first score. Jake Green's conversion was good and Leek was on the board at 7-0.

Despite this early setback, the home side was quickly back on terms after the restart when an unfortunate interception on their own 22, allowed Shrewsbury to gain momentum and a couple of rucks later saw the left wing in space to score just 2 minutes after the Leek try. The conversion was good and it was all square at 7 apiece.

On 20 minutes Leek had another penalty on the Shrewsbury 22 for dropping onto the ruck. It looked like a simple kick, but Jake Green had another idea as he spotted a gap and took the quick tapped penalty to himself. Sam Hunt was on the same wavelength and his support of the early pass saw him go under the posts for an opportunist try. Green converted again to hand the lead back to Leek at 14-7.

On 26 minutes Shrewsbury had a chance to get back on the scoreboard from a 5 metre scrum, but the No8 was held up over the line and then from the next scrum, untidy ball at the base of the scrum allowed Leek's defence to rush up and force a kick from the Shrewsbury fly half that went dead in goal.

On 33 minutes, Leek had a real chance to extend their lead when Ad Nettel broke the line of defence and with the full back to beat his pass to Matt Slinn was put down unluckily as the flankers combined. Leek was getting on top at this stage of the half and although another lineout 5 metres out gave them a chance, it was not straight. However in the 2nd minute of added time, another offside decision to the Moorlanders allowed Gary McDermott to slot a 40 metre penalty to extend Leek's lead to 17-7 as the half ended.

The 2nd half started with a try for Leek within 50 seconds of the restart. The clearance kick from Shrewsbury was fielded by Nick Palmer. He was supported by Dave Kennaway who set up the ruck on the left side outside the Shrewsbury 22. Another 2 quick rucks infield then saw the ball moved left again and Nick Palmer sprinted in from 20 metres to score at the left post. McDermott's conversion was just under the bar but at 22-7, Leek had started the half brightly and hopeful of taking the game away from their hosts.

On 48 minutes Jason Milner was held up over the line, but 5 minutes later with a scrum 10 metres from the Shrewsbury line in centre field, a feint open and pass to fullback Sam Hunt blind saw the speedy 15 sprint past defenders to score his 2nd try. Jake Green converted and with the bonus point secured at 29-7, Shrewsbury needed to up their game to get back into it. This they did, as the forwards, led by the No.8 retained ball and with good continuity forced Leek to defend. A couple of missed tackles and the tireless scrum half darted in for a score. The conversion was good and at 29-14, the game, with 20 minutes still to go, was still undecided.

A 65th minute penalty by Jake Green fell short and then Tom Hine left the field with a knock. Andy McFadden came into the back row as Luke Staton moved to lock.
On 70 minutes, Leek won a penalty under the posts after good work by forwards and backs left Shrewsbury's defence trying to stop another try. They failed to release in the tackle and Green's penalty was good enough to extend the lead to 32-14.
Tom Bourne entered the fray with a few minutes to go as skipper Jason Milner was rested and the game was played out in midfield.

This was a solid victory for the Moorlanders and with 2 draws in the league this week, reflecting the tightness of the league, a 5 point win was exactly what was required with 4 games to go now.
Next Saturday is a rest week for the 1st team, but plenty of action is on show at the club as the final day of the 6 Nations is played. Food and live test rugby, including France v Wales at 2.30pm and England v Ireland at 5pm, is on all day from 12.30pm.

On March 24th, Leek hosts Stafford at F ball park with a 3pm kick off.

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Match date

Sat 10, Mar 2012




Midlands 2 West (North)