Leek travelled with more changes to its team with Simon Drew in at flanker, Tom Sims back in the second row and Jack Newton-Taylor back at full-back. The rest of the squad was as normal with Ian Harris on the subs bench.
The match started well for Leek as they dominated the first exchanges and after a kick through by Josh Mays-Woodhead, swift passing saw Liam McDermott score and brother Gary convert the try to put Leek 0-7 in the lead after only 3minutes. Unfortunately shortly afterwards prop Bobby Cheadle went off with a cut head and Jamie Gordon took his place but Leek continued to put pressure on the home side.
The game then changed after 15 mins as Ed Cheadle was yellow-carded for kicking the ball away after a penalty to Bridgnorth. Losing a front row player meant Leek had to make changes and so Bobby Cheadle returned so Jason Milner had to do nifty some footwork and Luke Hardern went off. This gave momentum to Bridgnorth and they won the scrum and their No8 dived over near the posts for an easy conversion 7-7
The game was was evenly contested for the next 10 minutes but eventually the lack of a player saw Leek concede another try from a set move off a scrum five with the Bridgnorth centre crossing for a converted try 14-7. Ed Cheadle returned and his brother went off and Leek were able to put more pressure on the home side but the score remained the same until the end of the half
Within a minute of the restart Leek scored after a great move saw Nick Palmer break on the halfway line and feed Jack Newton-Taylor to run in and score 14-12 an unconverted try. From the kick off Leek gained ground from a kick deep into the Bridgnorth half where they conceded a penalty which Gary McDermott kicked to put Leek back in the lead 12-15
Leek had found their attacking drive again but still had to counter with some hard defensive work as the home side attacked the Leek line. On 50 mins McDermott kicked another penalty for holding on to the ball in the tackle to go 14-18. Then the game changed as Bridgnorth good interplay allowed their prop to dive over near the corner to make the score 19-18 after the kicker missed his conversion
Leek then pushed Bridgnorth off their own ball and James Wilson drove off the back of the scrum only to see a forward pass stop the play short of the line. Soon after Leek were able to turn some great defensive work into attack and made a try for James Floyd converted by McDermott to make the score 19-25 in Leek’s favour. Bridgnorth threw everything at Leek who managed to survive until a great move was finished off by the home side with a converted try to go into the lead 26-25 with only 5 mins left
Frantic attack and defence from both sides saw Leek pinned into their own corner and Bridgnorth ready to finish Leek off. However Leek managed to steal the ball at a defensive lineout and clear the ball well into the home half. After a lineout and several rucks, Leek were awarded a penalty between the 22m and 10m lines near the touchline. It was a difficult kick which Gary McDermott struck perfectly to score the winning points as the referee’s whistle blew for full time and the score 26-28 to Leek
In a close game the Leek squad had continued to make progress and develop their defensive and attacking game. Bridgnorth had had chances in both halves but great work by the Leek team had put them in front at the right time and they left Shropshire with a good win.
Results in the other games meant that Leek lost a place in the league but they will be pleased to keep their unbeaten record going. This week sees Camp Hill from Birmingham who were relegated last season visiting Leek for 2.15 kick off. Leek are also entertaining their Vice Presidents at 1pm for a buffet and all are welcome.
Nov 16th will see playing Market Harborough in the Third round of the RFU Intermediate Cup at home kick off 2.15pm. This is the first time Leek have reached this round and will be looking forward to playing against a new club and the challenges that a young squad will need to face
Author Gareth Jones