Tom Hine and Jason Milner were joined by Charlie Futcher for his first start at hooker this season and Tom Sims had Luke Staton at lock with him as Simon Drew retained his backrow spot with Ad Nettel and Andy McFadden.
Ian Harris and Gary McDermott were at half back and Naz Narawa and George Hunt were at centre with Jake Green and Nick Palmer on the wings. Dan Smith was at full back and Tom Bourne, Ed Cheadle and Jack Taylor were on the bench.
On a cold day with underfoot conditions good, Leek had to weather the first 6 minutes without the ball as Stafford retained well and probed the Leek defence. On 6 minutes, Leek broke and won a penalty for offside but Dan Smith's 40 yarder fell short, but 6 minutes later, Leek opened the scoring with a great score following a maul 15 metres out which Jason Milner controlled with ball in hand to touch down. Dan Smith converted and Leek had started well at 7-0.
From the kick off return, Leek rucked well and good passing allowed Jake Green to chip into the Stafford 22 for a lineout to test the home side, but Stafford won the ball and cleared well.
Play was back and forth for 10 minutes in midfield when on 22 minutes Stafford won a penalty for off feet at the ruck and the scrum half cooly struck the penalty to reduce the Leek lead to 7-3.
Charlie Futcher received a leg injury at this point and Ed Cheadle came on at hooker.
4 minutes later and Stafford had another chance with a penalty, this time for not rolling away at the ruck, but the attempt fell short.
On 29 minutes a great passage of play from Leek, which saw a turnover on half way, then good continuity saw the ball rucked in the Stafford 22 before the ball sped wide right for Dan Smith to get on the end of passes to score in the right corner. Jake Green converted superbly from the touchline to give Leek a handy 14-3 lead.
Right on half time with Leek looking dangerous on the break, the Moorlanders stole a Stafford lineout on the home side's 10 metre line. Naz Narawa burst through tackles before McDermott, with quick ball released Nick Palmer on the burst. He was collared just before the line and threw the pass inside. It hit a Stafford defender and went in goal where the alert Jason Milner touched down for his 2nd and Leek's 3rd try of the day. Jake green's conversion unluckily hit the post, but as the half closed out Leek had a solid 19-3 lead.
2 minutes into the 2nd half and Leek had wrapped up the try bonus point. McDermott kicked to touch on the Stafford 22, but the resulting clearance kick from the Stafford fly half only found Dan Smith. Leek's forwards then set about retaining possession through a series of rucks and mauls which saw them under the Stafford posts. Finally Harris spun the ball left and Ad Nettel crashed over for Leek's 4th try. Dan Smith missed the conversion but Leek were up to 24-3.
At this point, the home side needed to lift their game and for the next 15 minutes, they tried hard to break the resolute Leek defence, but couldn't make any impression in the Leek 22 as forwards and backs tackled aggressively.
On 57 minutes, Jack Taylor came onto the wing and Jake Green moved to full back as Dan Smith gave way.
On 65 minutes, for all Stafford's possession they were still finding it difficult to make a telling break and frustation set in when Gary McDermott charged down a kick, chipped it ahead, collected the ball and scored a simple try. Jake Green converted and at 31-3, the game was now beyond Stafford. Leek continued to press and but for wayward passing and good defence they may have scored 2 more tries before, on 76 minutes a good Leek lineout saw the pack maul to the Stafford line. Nick Palmer timed his run and crashed over as the ball alighted from the ruck. Jake Green converted again and with 6 tries and up to 38-3, Leek closed out the game.
It was an outstanding defensive effort firstly by Leek as every player tackled and supported the tackler strongly. When the ball came their way, good angles and strong retention with great support led to the tries.
Leek has a free league weekend next week before taking on current league leaders Moseley Oak at St Edwards on Saturday, March 23rd. In the earlier fixture Leek went down 17-11 at Moseley but the Birmingham outfit has improved again and there is a real tussle with Silhillians for the top spot.
Please come and support Leek on this day and see if the Moorlanders can pull off a win. It is also the day that the club is inviting all former players to the club to come and see what is going on there. As well as a great day’s rugby, it is the chance to meet up with old friends and playing colleagues and hopefully get more involved in the club’s social scene. Get there early for the buffet.
Next Saturday is the culmination of the 6 Nations Championships with 2 matches live on the big screen at the club.
Italy v Ireland at 2.30pm and Wales v England at 5pm. Can England win the Grand Slam - come and support them at the club. Food available, all day.
The bar is open from 1.30pm and there are 2 home matches with Leek taking on Uttoxeter in a friendly at first team level. KO is 3pm.