Leek welcomed back head coach Ian Gittens who had been unavailable for most of last season through illness. This game was to test the depth of the squad as several players were still unavailable though injury or holidays but with new captain Tom Hine the atmosphere was positive .It was a very hot day for rugby and the players fitness was to be tested. Leek started with Milner,Bould and Gordon in the front row and Hine and Sims as lock forwards . Simon Drew and veteran Edge started as flankers with Mcfadden at no 8.Dave Kennaway helped out at scrum half with Gary Mcdermott at fly half, this allowed for Dickers and George Hunt to start in the centres with Palmer and Harris on the wings with Dan Smith stepping up at full back .
Tamworth themselves had a mixture of youth and experience in their side, for the first 15 mins play was dominated around the half way line with no team taking any advantage. On 18 minutes Tamworth had a line out on Leeks 5 metre line and after a great catch and drive with some big forwards they were able to take the lead, however they failed to score the conversion. Leek then had to defend well to keep themselves in the game and after 38 minutes Leek won a penalty and from approx 25 metres Mcdermott duly converted.
It looked like Leek were to go into half time 2 points behind however with the last play of the half Leek were penalised and from 15 metres Tamworth scored to take a 8 -3 lead into half time.
At the start of the second half Tamworth appeared to come out the stronger with Leek failing to control their lineouts as it was clear if they could get the ball into the hands of Leeks backs then they were in with a chance . On 65 minutes subs were made with young Ed Harrison and club veteran Jason Reaney replacing Gordon and Harris through injury.
Reaney started then to show his experience with some great ball carry and with some leadership from captain Hine Leek started to place Tamworth on the back foot with some controlled aggressive forward play, this allowed the backs for the first time in the game to look threatening. On 70 mins, again on Leeks lineout they failed to hold and as result Tamworth won the ball and scored under the posts to take a 15 to 3 lead. Leek continued to be in the game with their fitness helping.
On 75 mins George Hunt scored a well worked team try which had started with a combination of the Harrison and Reaney driving forward over the half way line with some lovely link up play with the backs which allowed Hunt to take a body swerve to score under the posts . Mcdermott suitably converted, however Leek ran out of time and lost 15 -10 . However they were able to take point from the game . Team Captain Hine said after the game " on a hot day this was a test for the whole squad and I am pleased we were able to keep in the game and come away with something, however we need to keep working on the lineout.
Leek are away at Aston Old Eds on Saturday 15.9.12, 3pm k.o . Their first home game will be Sat 29.9.12
Author Mark Hardern