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RFU Intermediate Cup Final at Twickenham - Leek 19 Trowbridge 22

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

  • Skipper Gary McDermott touches down Leek's second try to bering his side back into the game.

  • A determined Luke Grainger scores Leek's first try.

  • Beaten but not disgraced – the Leek players are congratulated by their fans.

  • There was plenty of loud vocal lsupport from the large Leek following.

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COMEBACKS and late scoring were something of a trademark of Leek's run to Twickenham, and the trend was continued in Sunday's RFU Intermediate Cup final.

But despite sustained pressure by Leek in a nail-biting closing minutes, Trowbridge somehow managed to deny their courageous opponents a famous victory.

Leek captain Gary McDermott was full of praise for his players after an absorbing contest at the home of English rugby.

McDermott said: "I thought we were going to sneak it, but it wasn't meant to be. But I think we can be proud of how we played and we conducted ourselves."

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The turning point of the game came in the 57th minute when Leek second row Edward Harrison was sin-binned for a dangerous tip-tackle.

Trowbridge took advantage of having the extra man to stretch their lead to 22-12 after Leek had gained fresh hope, with a try from McDermott converted by the skipper himself.

Leek set up a grandstand finish when winger James Floyd touched down and the ever-reliable fly-half McDermott converted to reduce the deficit to 21-19 before time ran out.

Trowbridge were 10-5 up at half-time through a penalty and a converted try, to which Leek had responded with a try from hooker Luke Grainger.

McDermott confessed that he felt his side were a little starstruck by the occasion in the opening stages of the match, but grew in stature as it progressed.

He said: "We have rode our luck along the way with a few last-minute kicks, but I missed a few today so maybe that was fate – but I am proud of how the lads played.

"We went down to 14 men and we had a bit of a rallying cry, saying let's leave Twickenham with every ounce of energy expended, and you saw at the end that we were camped on their line but we just ran out of time.

"With another five minutes, it could have been our day.

The cup final brought down the curtain on an incredible season which saw Leek suffer just three defeats in 33 matches played.

Leek coach Ian Gittens, who has been a major influence since joining the club five years ago, said:

"A victory would have been the cherry on the icing of an amazing cake but sometimes, sadly, you have to bite the bullet, and that is part of sport.

"We are magnanimous losers as well as winners, but hopefully we will get over the heartache in the near future and carry on enjoying the occasion and what the club has achieved.

"I don't think we played at our best today, but what we will say is that I felt Trowbridge have the most intense defence that we have played this season.

"There were opportunities for us out there but the rub of the green didn't quite go for us. At times, we made some excellent breaks but could not quite finish it off."

Gittens added: "It has been an amazing occasion – your spine tingles every time you walk up to the stadium."

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