Midlands 2 West (North) Wolverhampton 17 Leek 26
LEEK’S visits to Castlecroft in recent years have ended in frustration usually, but that was put behind them on Saturday as they picked up a winning bonus point and extended their great start to the season.
It took just two minutes for the home side to register the first try of the day when a clearance kick from Leek reached the Wolves 22.
The backs ran the ball back to Leek’s half, set up a couple of rucks, shipped the ball wide and a simple overlap saw the wing score near the posts. His conversion was good and Wolves were 7-0 up already.
Things were about to get worse for Leek when on nine minutes a dropped ball on the right allowed a hack through from the Wolves centre.
Leek were outflanked again as the wing went in for his second try, although this time he missed the conversion.
Leek steadied their ship to retain better possession and on 19 minutes Sam Hunt got into space and his pass to Nick Palmer saw the speedy wing just win the race for the left corner. McDermott converted.
Wolves were penalised twice for red zone offences before McDermott set up another ruck close to the Wolves line and Dan Needham bulldozed his way over to take Leek level. McDermott converted and unlikely as it may have seemed 15 minutes earlier, Leek had taken a 14-12 lead on 28 minutes.
On 37 minutes, Wolves had a penalty for not releasing in the tackle, but the attempt was short and Leek cleared.
Leek started the second half brightly and on 45 minutes Palmer was in again but was hauled back for a forward pass. Still Leek pressed and Jack Newton Taylor went on one of his runs deep into Wolves 22.
The maul was set up but Leek couldn’t recycle and Wolves won the scrum. As they cleared from the base, Andy McFadden was yellow carded for an attempted trip on his opposite man and it looked like Leek would let the pressure off Wolves.
However, the opposite occurred as the determination and fitness of the Moorlanders began to wear down the home defence.
Dan Needham was superb at the back of the Leek pack and on 50 minutes he orchestrated a flowing move up the right side and into the Wolves 22, sucking in defenders and delivering a pass which Sam Hunt did exceptionally well to take for the centre to sprint into the right corner for a stunning try.
McDermott failed with the difficult conversion but Leek had increased their lead to 12-17 with the 14 men.
Wolves then won a series of penalties on their left as Leek’s discipline dropped and it led to a lineout on Leek’s 22. The powerful home maul saw the skipper crash over after a superb driving maul to the Leek line. The conversion missed but at 17-19 on 70 minutes, it was still a great game to be won or lost.
With ten minutes of time added for injuries, a lineout on the Leek 22 was foiled though but Leek couldn’t clear the ball and found themselves defending the area outside the 22 to the 10 metre line for the next five minutes.
Their discipline improved and they didn’t concede a penalty and then on 88 minutes, Leek won a turnover ball on their own 22. McDermott lifted the siege with a long raking kick which kept on bouncing towards the right touchline on the Wolves 22.
Three Leek backs bore down on the fullback as he tried to keep the ball in play and suddenly play and territory had shifted to the Wolves 22.
Leek won a penalty and Dan Needham took a quick tap but then Leek lost the ball and Wolves cleared.
Sam Hunt collected and jinked his way back into the 22 and Leek’s forwards took over and reached the Wolves line before losing the ball somehow.
Wolves attempted to run from behind their posts and a combined Liam McDermott Lee Williams tackle saw the ball spilled.
Ed Cheadle collected and crashed over the line for Leek’s 4th try with the last play of the game. Gary McDermott added the conversion and Leek had won in dramatic fashion.
Burntwood 0 Leek U17s 52
AFTER the opening two league losses, the Leek under-17s stormed back with a strong performance in wet and windy conditions.
Captain Reece Milner starred, touching down three times, while Dan Sharratt, Daniel Slinn, George Dennision, Ryan Day and Connor Ryder all scored a try apiece.
Jack Winfield had an outstanding game at fly half, orchestrating play and kicking six conversions worth 12 points.
Burton 10 Leek Skywalkers 20
AFTER Skywalkers’ emphatic 104-0 win against Barton under Needwood, Leek faced a much sterner test with their trip to Burton.
A switch kick by Alfie Walford caught Burton off guard from the off, with pressure from the rampant Jack Lawlor which saw Jake Bailey score the first try 57 seconds into the game.
This settled the team’s nerves and Leek were very much on top, but lack of concentration and very poor defending on the blind side from a ruck saw Burton score an easy try.
This seemed to galvanise Burton and put Leek under pressure for several minutes. But the Leek forwards soon changed this with some great scrummaging.
Jake Bailey picked up the ball and weaved through the Burton defence for another great solo try.
Further sustained pressure from Leek and great defensive intervention made Burton make several mistakes, allowing Leek to clear their lines several times.
Leek went on to score the fourth try to make it 20-5 going into the last ten minutes.
However, Burton were gifted a ridiculously easy try from a fivemetre quick-tap penalty.
Stafford U12s 7 Leek U12s 41
FROM the start, the visitors decided that their style of rugby would brighten up proceedings.
After winning a line-out deep in Stafford territory, the forward pack drove on with powerful runs from Josh Sales and Callum McCarron.
Great support saw Max Hine bulldoze his way over the line for the first try. The hosts tried to peg Leek back but this allowed the visitors to use the width of the pitch.
Scrum half Sam Brereton beat his man and quick hands through the back line saw Josh DeGale sprint clear from his own half to claim a try.
Stafford managed to get a foothold in the game and had the better of the scrums.
Reagan Chell, Rowan Blanchard and Shane Salt defended excellently to deny the hosts any chances.
The Moorlanders started to match Stafford in the scrums and quick ball saw the back line break forward at pace, with Will Midwinter scoring in the corner.
Midwinter then finished another flowing move under the posts, thanks to a good break from debutante Josh Littleton, who impressed on the wing.
In the second half, Sam Lloyd switched to fly half and immediately broke clear the score a great try under the posts.
The back line continued to find gaps and Jenny Hesketh broke forward but was tackled.
The following phase saw Joel Hine run a fantastic line which cut open the defence and saw him beat the covering players to score.
Stafford edged back into their opponent’s half and despite good tackles from Drew Pitts and Tom Leach, they pushed on towards Leek’s line.
Henry Weetman tackled repeatedly but the hosts managed to grab a consolation try.
The last score of the day went to Josh DeGale who used speed combined with power to cross the Stafford line. Three conversions from Midwinter took the the final score to 41-7 in Leek’s favour.
Mean Machine 61 Stafford Under 11s 7
THE MEAN Machine’s first game of the season began well, as Joe Byrne ran in his first of his hat-trick of tries after two minutes.
The Mean Machine dominated from that moment. Dominic Winwood was too quick for Stafford and ran in an unstoppable hat-trick.
Jarred Leftwich bulldozed over for a typical forwards try and Holly Fryer ran half the length of the field for a brilliant individual effort.
The try of the match saw the ball pass through most of the teams’ hands before being finished off in fine style by Archie Hall. Joe Byrne kicked eight out of nine conversations, capping off a great team performance.