Midlands Division 3 West (North)
Leek 58 v 0 Wednesbury
In an almost flawless display on Saturday, Leek completely outplayed a Wednesbury outfit that were only placed 1 position below Leek in the league and in scoring 58 points, hoisted their points difference to 100 points and moved up to 3rd place in the division, level on points with Tamworth and only 2 points behind league leaders Veseyans.
Leek's home league record is played 5 won 5 and with Leek's scrum finally dominating the set piece, Leek's backs had a field day with fly half Gary McDermott grabbing a hatrick of tries, 6 conversions and 2 penalties for a personal haul of 33 points.
With Jason Milner moving to the tight head and Charlie Futcher at hooker and Dave Ackerley at loose head, Leek's front row looks solid and James Newby's return to the 2nd row with Dave Hodgkinson means Leek finally has some options when all the forwards are fit. Luke Staton is fit now, but could not play, so skipper Adam Nettel was at No.8 with Luke Granger and veteran Neil Edge on the flanks.
The half backs, Dan Needham and Gary McDermott ran the game and with Andy Green at inside centre and the developing James Wilson at outside centre, more options are presenting themselves when the pack is on the front foot. Leek welcomed Sam Hunt back to full back and Tom Laverick and Simon Drew continued on the wings.
Wednesbury usually has a very big pack, but ominously for them the first scrum in the first minute, saw the Leek pack win the ball against the head and shove their opponents back. Camped in the Wednesbury 22 for the first 11 minutes, Leek swarmed all over Wednesbury. Credit to the defence, Leek found it difficult to make the final breakthrough to score, but on 11 minutes Leek won a penalty and Dan Needham took a quick tap and a simple pass to Adam Nettel saw the skipper go over for the first try. McDermott converted and Leek led 7-0.
From the kick off, Leek retained possession, tied up the Wednesbury forwards in midfield, made a blind side break where Luke Granger took a pass 30 metres out and sprinted in for a great try. McDermott converted again and the score was up to 14-0 on 14 minutes.
Ball retention from the kick off again saw Leek camped in the Wednesbury 22 and from a solid scrum and a couple of quick rucks, McDermott found himself scoring the first of his tries out wide. He converted superbly and with only 19 minutes gone Leek were up to 21-0.
Again from the kick off, Leek had a golden opportunity to score again with a 3 on 1 situation, but the ball was lost forward. However on 26 minutes, McDermott scored again after persistent pressure by the forwards created the space on the left for some good passing and a run in for McDermott. His 4th successful conversion from the touch line gave Leek a 28-0 lead.
On 34 minutes McDermott missed a penalty but as the half wound down with Leek applying all the pressure, an offside decision saw McDermott convert a penalty to extend Leek's lead to 31-0 as the half time whistle blew.
Usually half time dents the flow of the attacking team, but only 4 minutes into the 2nd half and Leek were camped in the Wednesbury 22 and from another quick penalty by Dan Needham, Luke Granger went over for his 2nd try with McDermott converting and raising the total to 38-0.
To their credit, Wednesbury never gave up and enjoyed some possession in the next 10 minutes, but as the ball broke down, it was a pleasure to see Sam Hunt get a run down the right wing to confirm his fitness after a great move saw Leek running the ball from their own 22.
However it took until the 56th minute for Leek's next score when McDermott scored a penalty from in front of the posts as Leek threatened to score again. Leek 41-0 Wednesbury.
On 62 minutes, Dave Kennaway came on for Simon Drew and Andy Green moved to the wing and on 70 minutes, Lee Williams came on for Sam Hunt.
At that moment Leek won a lineout in Wednesbury's 22 and a terrific driving saw the Leek forwards maul superbly for Jason Milner to score a team try. 46-0.
Dave Ackerley was replaced by Jamie Gordon and on 73 minutes, Leek's best try was scored, when after a scrum in their own half, the backs conjured up a move which saw Needham and Green feed James Wilson whose sprint for the line saw him score a deserved try in the right corner. McDermott converted and hoisted Leek to 53-0.
On 77 minutes, McDermott notched his hatrick try with a fantastic sidestep and chip through which saw the Leek fly half win the race for the touchdown. He missed his own conversion but ended up as man of the match and leading Leek to a final score of 58-0.
It was a performance coming as Leek won their 5th league match in a row, as injuries recede and confidence increases. There is a real belief in the squad at the moment, but some tough matches are around the corner starting next Saturday with a home fixture against Moseley Oak, a side that beat Leek on their own pitch last season.
Please come and support your local team as they seek to improve on this performance. Kick off 2.15pm at F Ball Park.
Veseyans continues to lead the division after a comfortable away win at Telford and with Tamworth trouncing Bishops Castle and Burntwood winning a tight affair at Newcastle, Veseyans remain top on 16 points with Tamworth, Leek and Burntwood all on 14 points. A 3 point gap has opened up to 5th placed Wednesbury and only the top 4 teams have positive points differences with Leek's 58-0 win boosting their difference to 100 and only 2nd to Tamworth in this area.
The top 4 teams are in action on December 19th against each other with Leek hosting Tamworth and Burntwood hosting Veseyans. In between on December 12th, Leek travels to neighbours Newcastle for their Christmas get together
Author John McDermott