Camp Hill had been relegated last season and it was clear from the supporters in attendance and the lovely clear skies that this was going to be a tough game for the travelling Leek Team . The forwards set up as in the first 2 games of the season with the addition of Lee Williams starting at flanker and the addition of Will Graham in the back line and playing on the wing with the unavailability of James Floyd.
The players on the bench included another colt Billy Kidd.
From the kick off Leeks forwards pressed hard on the CH 15 metres area but were unable to turn the pressure into any points and on 10 mins from a CH won line out they were able to spray the ball along the back line to score in the corner to take a 5-0 lead with a missed conversion .Leek made an immediate reply with Jack Newton Taylor having an impact at all Leek kick offs through the afternoon , the ball was passed to Bobby Cheadle with a patient forward build up and control they went through several phases with the ball passed to Joe Newton Taylor to crash over from 5 metres , the conversion was scored by Sam Hunt, who kicked well all afternoon to take a 5-7 lead.
The game then became one of open play from both sides with Leek defending very well against a far bigger CH side and some well executed box kicks by Leek scrum half , Ollie Drew .On 25 mins CH won a penalty in front of the posts and took the points to take the lead , Again from the kick off the ball was won by Leek and through controlled forwards play the ball was passed along the back line and with a great pass from Will Graham to Tom Scragg who went over to score in the corner . The difficult conversion was well taken by Sam Hunt to take a 8-14 lead . Leek continued to play some very good rugby against a strong CH side and on 38 mins CH lost the ball in midfield which Leek chased well and centre Nick Palmer won the chase to touch the ball down with an easy conversion for Hunt to take a 8-21 lead at Half time .The break seemed to allow CH to take a breather as Leek had taken the upper hand.
However they came out the stronger team in the second half with Leek starting to lose a couple of scrums against the head which had been strong point in the first half , CH quickly got some points on the board from a penalty and then after 10 mins prop Joe NT was yellow carded which gave player advantage to CH and through that period CH went onto to take the lead through a try , conversion and penalty as there man and weight advantage started to tell. With 15 mins to go Ollie Drew was replaced by Dan Needham at Scrum half and Liam McDermott returned to fly half with position changes for the back line.
Leek continued to press the CH line with Sam Hunt hitting the posts from a penalty on the half way line, unfortunately the ball bounced to the favour of CH which they were then able to clear . In the last few minutes the returning McDermott was tackled very late which was missed by the official which looks like it be another long road to recovery for the player. The game finished 23-21 against 2 teams who played with 2 different styles of play , Captain Luke Hardern said after the game” We played some excellent rugby in parts against a strong CH side, we just need to keep the penalty count down and work on some of our final execution, we were very unlucky not to come away with the win“
Leek came away with a point with wins from other close teams in the league after 3 games .The league table is very tight at this stage of the season.
This next weekend at Esterchem park is the clubs beer festival with a Vets game under floodlights on Friday 5th October with KO at 7-30pm and the 1st team playing at home v Crewe and Nantwich with a 3pm KO with bar open at 1pm, followed by live music. The Beer festival will have 10 different beers with local sponsor support, please view club website and Facebook for details and times.
Remember homemade’ monthly Curry & a Drink Night offer at £7 per person on Tuesday 2nd October at the club between 7-30pm and 9-30pm.
Author Mark Hardern