Sat 31
Moseley Oak
1st XV
Moseley Oak v Leek Match Report

Moseley Oak v Leek Match Report

By Michael Whitehouse
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Leek halted MO's 7 match unbeaten run, completed the double over their Birmingham rivals and in the process recorded their 3rd win in a row for the first time this season.

Playing on Moseley's first team pitch, the Leek forwards swarmed all over the park to deny the home side any kind of platform to work a position from and in the end, the Moorlanders ran out deserved winners to keep themselves in the hunt for 3rd spot.

Charlie Futcher was back starting at hooker for the first time in 2 years and Matt Slinn started on the blind side flank as Luke Staton was still injured and these were the only 2 changes to the pack. Ian Harris and George Hunt were in the centre and Lucas Buxton was playing his last game this season on the right wing.

Leek played down the slope first half against a stiff breeze and were immediately penalised for not releasing in the tackle. The referee was particularly hot on this phase of the game and it took Leek some time to adjust to it as the back row were so quick to the breakdown. Mo's usually reliable scrum half pushed his attempt wide and Leek knew that they couldn't allow any penalties this half with the wind to assist the consistent boot of the MO penalty taker.
On 6 minutes, Leek won a penalty when MO was penalised for deliberately wheeling the scrum. Then a player wouldn't release the ball and Leek won another 10 metres. Jake Green kicked for the corner and a lineout about 10 metres from the MO try line.

A catch by Tom Sims in the middle, followed by the maul and drive by the forwards propelled Jason Milner over for his 9th try of the season. Green's conversion failed but Leek was on the board at 5-0.
Another penalty on 12 minutes for handling in the ruck gave Green a kickable attempt and he duly obliged to extend the Leek lead to 8-0.
On 18 minutes, Leek was penalised for not releasing in the tackle but again the MO scrum half pushed his kick wide and 6 minutes later a 3rd attempt went begging after Leek was caught offside in midfield.

Having ridden their luck, a Leek penalty for offside in centre field saw Jake Green make no mistake with his kick and Leek were up to 11-0 on 28 minutes.
On 37 minutes, Green had another chance to extend the lead when MO was penalised for holding on. The long range effort hit the right hand post and the alert Leek backs then charged down the attempted clearance kick and a great chance was on as they recovered the ball. A try looked likely but then in the maul, Leek dropped the ball and MO cleared to half way.

With the half closing down, Mo won another penalty and this time they chose to kick for the lineout inside Leek's 22. A good catch and then drive was brought to the ground and then MO was penalised for holding on and Leek cleared to end the half 11-0 to the good.
The 2nd half opened with MO employing different tactics as the forwards tried to pick and drive and on 45 minutes, Leek was penalised for a high tackle and at the 4th time of asking, the MO scrum half put the home side on the scoreboard at 3-11.

4 minutes later though, Leek won back the 3 points after Jake Green's 3rd penalty split the posts following a holding on decision. 14-3.
The 11 point lead only lasted 2 minutes as another penalty for MO for offside at the ruck was successful and the score was up to 6-14.
Mo was now enjoying plenty of possession and another penalty on 55 minutes for going off the feet at the ruck saw the attempt hit the post and then Leek knocked on in the pick up. This gave MO a scrum about 15 metres from the Leek line on the right and after a couple of rucks, Leek's defence was scattered and the MO blind side flanker and danger man, broke 2 tackles to score his try. The conversion was good and MO had got right back into the game at 13-14. Leek needed to up their game and just like last week against Stafford, this they did, as their determination not to let the lead slip finally meant they retained good possession and on 67 minutes, Green had another penalty for offside but his kick went wide.

Then on 70 minutes, Nick Palmer went off and Shane Dicker came into the centre with Ian Harris moving to the wing.
On 74 minutes, Leek turned the ball over, as the excellent Adam Nettel once again stole the ball off the man on the ground. This set up a maul on the right side. Instead of going open, Leek's blind side attack caught the home side napping and Lucas Buxton sprinted past his man to score in the right corner. Jake Green's conversion missed, but Leek was up to 19-13, which gave MO a hint of a chance to steal the game, but Leek was not to be denied and held on to win.

The win kept Leek in 4th place as Bridgnorth won a bonus point at Shrewsbury to leapfrog them into 3rd place. MO dropped to 6th as Tamworth won a close affair at Spartans and moved to 5th.
Stoke won the top of the table clash as Old Salts lost their 100% home record and Aston Old Eds won at Stafford. Burntwood's win over Dixonians still gives them an outside chance of survival.

With 2 games to go, 3rd to 6th places are still to be decided as 4 teams are separated by only 3 points. Leek has already eclipsed last season's points total of 54 with 2 games to go and with 12 wins have equalled last season's win record, so a better than 6th place, which was last season's finishing position, will mean an all round successful and improved year. 3rd place is still a possibility and the squad will be training hard over the next 2 weeks in anticipation of the Spartans match where they will want to avenge their disappointing defeat to the Warwickshire side in December.

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Match date

Sat 31, Mar 2012




Midlands 2 West (North)