With nothing at stake as Camp Hill had won their last 3 matches and Leek had already secured the league title, the 2 sides produces an excellent end of season game, albeit Camp Hill finished with only 13 men due to on field injuries during the game.
Leek scored 8 tries to Camp Hill’s 2 tries and set themselves up positively for the trip to Twickenham next Sunday where they play Trowbridge in the National RFU Intermediate cup final.
Camp Hill is an old school, traditional club and their hospitality and friendship was on show as was their respect of Leek’s performance this season when their players lined a guard of honour as the Leek team exited the changing rooms. Thanks go to them for their rugby tradition and long may it continue.
Gary McDermott had played every minute of every game this season as the skipper has guided his team to the title, but he was rested for this one ahead of next week, along with 7 others. Liam McDermott took over at 10 and was joined at half back by Dan Needham. Naz Narawa and Sam Hunt started in the centres and James Floyd, Nick Palmer and Dan Smith were the back 3.
Bobby Cheadle, Jason Milner and Dan Cooper were in the front row and Ed Harrison and Tom Hine were at lock. Andy McFadden led the side from the flank and was joined in the back row by Luke Staton and James Wilson.
On the bench was Josh Mays Woodhead, Tom Sims and Luke Granger.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine and took the shape of the game at Leek with not much between the sides for the opening 10 minutes before good continuity and some indifferent tackling saw the Camp Hill centre score a good try. The conversion was good and Camp Hill led 7-0.
The heavens opened then and Leek were pressing. A clearance kick from their own 22 on 25 minutes allowed Dan Smith to gather on half way. He passed to James Floyd who scythed his way through the heart of the defence to score his 23rd league try of the season. Sam Hunt converted and it was 7 all.
From the kick off, Luke Staton made a thunderous break which eventually led to Naz Narawa going in from short range under the posts. Sam Hunt converted and Leek led 14-7.
As the half wound down, Leek broke from their own 22 through Naz Narawa and James Floyd. Tackled near the line, Luke Staton picked up and scored in the right corner. Sam Hunt converted superbly, the half time whistle went and Leek had stretched out to 21-7.
The 2nd half started strongly for Leek and on 46 minutes good hands from the backs allowed James Floyd to score his 2nd try on the right. The conversion missed. 7-26.
Camp Hill came back into the game and scored a try on 54 minutes as the full back sprinted in. The conversion was good and then another penalty on 57 minutes for not releasing in the tackle allowed the home side to get up to 17-26.
The final quarter belonged to Leek though as Camp Hill, having suffered 3 injuries before half time couldn’t cope with Leek’s 4 try onslaught. James Wilson scored from a 5 metre push over and then Luke Granger scored a long range try on 74 minutes. Nick Palmer scored on 77 minutes and finally Naz Narawa added his 2nd try in added time. Sam Hunt converted 3 of them to round off a good win.
Camp Hill were reduced to 14 men and then ended with 13 men as the injuries mounted and their courage was undimmed right to the end.
This win meant Leek ended with 95 points and 2nd placed Crewe and Nantwich won a play-off game against Banbury to ensure 2 sides from Midlands West 2 (N) won promotion this season.
Aston Old Eds and Willenhall were relegated, but all hats off to Aston whose team must be praised for fielding a side every week in the face of losses that may have caused a weaker club to drop out of the league.