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Revenge match clinches title for Leek... now the sights are on Twickenham

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

  • Leek prop Jason Milner, blue shirt, halts a Moseley Oak attack.

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Midlands Two West (North)

Leek 56 Moseley Oak 5

LEEK'S final home league game of the season saw them avenge their one defeat this season, when they swept past Moseley Oak to clinch the league title.

Moseley needed to win to have a hope of a play off place, but were run ragged by a tremendous display by the Leek squad.

Ed Harrison, James Wilson and Luke Staton were all out of this match, so it meant Naz Narawa was drafted into No 8 alongside flankers Ad Nettel and Andy McFadden.

Tom Sims and Luke Hardern were at lock and Bobby Cheadle, Luke Granger and Tom Hine started in the front row.

Dan Needham and Gary McDermott were at half back. Liam McDermott and Nick Palmer renewed their centre partnership with Jack Newton Taylor, James Floyd and Sam Hunt making up the back three.

Shane Dicker and Jake Green were elevated to the first team bench for the first time in months after long-term injuries and Jason Milner made up the squad.

Over 320 spectators witnessed the game at Esterchem Park.

After 13 minutes, a clear offside on the Moseley 22 at the ruck gave Leek skipper, Gary McDermott, the chance to open the scoring with a simple penalty.

Moseley's tactic of setting up the rolling maul paid some territorial dividend but they couldn't keep it together to get into a scoring position.

Leek won a penalty just inside their own half in the 22nd minute and Needham's long kick bobbled enticingly near the Moseley goal line.

As the vistors full back ran back to cover he was pounced upon by three Leek players.

Needham had worked hard to get to the break down and was on hand to dot down for the opening try, but McDermott's conversion missed.

Leek were on top and the hosts were held up over the line on 27 minutes.

From the scrum , the ball went open and then back blind where Newton Taylor took the final pass to score in the left corner. McDermott converted and Leek were 15-0 ahead.

Moseley were under pressure and on 34 minutes a clearance kick found Hunt on halfway.

His run and then ruck set up on the right allowed Hardern to burst through on the charge and then superb handling by Palmer and Floyd saw the youngsters inter-passing to beat the defenders before Floyd touched down in the right corner for Leek's third try.

The conversion missed but Leek had built a 20-0 lead with five minutes of the first half remaining.

Leek were penalised on 38 minutes for not rolling away from the tackle and Moseley kicked for the lineout on Leek's five metre line.

A good catch and drive saw the Birmingham side score in the left corner. The conversion missed as the half time whistle blew with the score 20-5 to Leek.

Green came on for Needham at scrum half and Milner came on for Hardern as Hine moved to lock. Leek started the second half strongly and had forced a five-metre scrum after Floyd had made a great step and McDermott had kicked to near the Moseley line.

From the scrum, a quick ruck was formed and then a maul which was controlled superbly for McFadden to crash over for the bonus point try. The conversion was good and at 27-5 Moseley had a big task ahead of them.

The visitors were brave and skilful and on 48 minutes were pounding the Leek line, but the defence was holding well and then the ball was spilled.

A kick ahead and ball retention on half way allowed Naz Narawa to pass to Palmer.

He found Gary McDermott on the right on the Moseley 10-metre line. The skipper then showed sublime skill by showing the ball, dummying and then sprinting down the touchline to score a fine try.

He couldn't convert but at 32-5, the game was beyond Moseley now.

On 68 minutes, a Leek scrum on the Moseley 22 give the backs another chance to show their passing skills, sending the defence one way, then the other before Taylor stood defenders still and then sprinted in under the posts for his second try. McDermott converted and Leek were 39-5 ahead.

Three minutes later a penalty on halfway for offside gave Jake Green the opportunity to tease the defence before Narawa and McDermott combined to put Palmer in for his second try in the corner. The conversion made it 46-5.

From the kick off, Hardern took the catch and broke three or four tackles before offloading the ball.

Great support and handling down the left side finally found Palmer racing in again for his third try. The conversion missed.

As the game wound down, it was still Leek forcing the pace and Hine charged down an attempted clearance kick in the Moseley 22. Palmer picked up and passed to Nettel for the flanker to score the final try.

The conversion missed but Leek had won convincingly as the final whistle went.

Technically, Leek cannot be passed now as they hold an unassailable lead with two games to go.

They were not favourites this season by any means to step up on last year's fourth place, but have come in on the five-year plan exactly on schedule.

The hard work and determination of the whole playing and coaching staff deserve all the credit they get and their reward of the league title and the Midlands Cup in one season is justification enough.

Crewe beat Old Salts to maintain second place and are on course for the play-off if they can beat Stafford in their final match. Camp Hill's win confirmed Willenhall's fate along with Aston Old Eds.

This Saturday Leek travel to Old Salts, kick-off 3pm.

On Easter Saturday, April 19, Leek play host to Aspatria in the RFU National Intermediate Cup semi-final. The day will start at noon. There is a £5 entrance charge in line with RFU regulations, but under 16s are allowed in free.

This match is unprecedented in the club's history and the reward for the winner is the national final at Twickenham on Sunday, May 4.

Under 17s

Leek U17 26 Eccleshall U17 17

Leek lined up with new back line of Jack Winfield scrum half, Connor Ryder stand-off, Dan Sharratt and Charles Holland in the centre and George Bestwick and Dan Goodwin on the wing.

The forwards consisted of a back row of James Taylor, Reilly Knight and Rob Dennison, second row of John Pritchard and Sam Avlonitis, and a front row of Ryan Day, Kalem Campion and Will Hill. Replacements were Rhys Gregory, Dan Walker, Luke Bradford.

Pressure by Leek was undone by some poor handling allowing Eccleshall to gain territory. Further pressure and some poor decision making resulted in an intercept try for Eccleshall.

Leek came back from the kick-off with Charles Holland putting away Dan Sharratt to burst through to score under the posts.

Eccleshall started to build through some nice phase play which resulted in another score to put them 12-7 ahead at half-time.

Leek had it all to do playing against the wind in the second half and only some last ditch tackling stopped Eccleshall extending their lead.

Leek vice captain George Dennison, who had decided to rest nursing an injury, came on with immediate effect. A strong run pulled in two Eccleshall centres but Dennison managed to release Sharratt who sprinted past the cover defence to score.

The lead changed hands yet again when a nicely worked blindside move allowed Eccleshall to go 17-12 ahead.

A crunching tackle by winger George Bestwick started to change the momentum of the game.

Leek finally managed to put some phases together and Dennison was able to get the ball in space to put Leek 19-17 ahead.

Prop Ryan Day sprinted over to complete the score for Leek.

Under 12s

Leek under-12s travelled to Lichfield for the first festival of the year where tries by Scott Goldstraw (2), Josh Cartlidge, Tom Leach, and Josh Cooper gave them a 5-0 victory over Towcester Tigers in the opening game.

A solitary try by Joel Hine gave Leek victory over Tamworth in their second game, but they were unable to make it three from three against Staffordshire champions Wolverhampton, going down 3-1 despite a Herculean effort.

Walsall provided the penultimate challenge for Leek.

Callum McCarron put Leek ahead, but Walsall soon equalised before Joel Hine grabbed the winner for the Moorlanders.

In the final game Leek faced Cheshire champions Sandbach and were unable to score against a well drilled defence.

Sandbach won the game which meant that Leek finished a creditable third among an illustrious collection of teams.

Leek squad: Callum McCarron, Henry Weetman, Jenny Hesketh, Josh Cartlidge, Scott Goldstraw, Josh Cooper, Josh Lyttleton, Joel Hine, Josh Sales, Max Hine, Reagan Chell, Rowan Blanchard, Sam Brereton, Tom Leach, Sam Lloyd, William Midwinter.

Under 9s

Leek under-9s emerged from the Lichfield Festival as champions.

They fought back from behind to win their opening game against Burton 2-1 through tries by Joseph Meakin and |Sam Heath.

Heath got his name on the scoresheet again as Leek brushed asisde Trentham 5-0 in their second game. Joshua Nadin (2), George Bailey and Logan Robinson got Leek's other tries.

A well-organised Coventry-based Sicilians were Leek's the next opponents.

Leek took the lead through Kinney Critchlow but Sicilians levelled before the break.

Theo Bettany regained the lead for Leek and Sam Heath made it 3-1 after Bettany turned provider with a fantastic run.

Leek came up against Lichfield in their fourth game and maintained their 100 per cent record with a convincing 5-0 scoreline.

Try scorers were Kinney Critchlow (2) Noah Reaney, Lewis Sale, and Joseph Meakin

With Leek's fifth opponents Wolverhampton only having lost one game the scene was set for a nail-biting finale.

Leek fielded their strongest team went ahead through Josh Nadin.

Leek only needed a draw to win the tournament but they went on to pull out all the stops to register a 4-0 victory through tries by Theo Bettany and Kinney Critchlow (2).

Leek squad: Noah Reaney, Joshua Nadin, Sam Heath, Kinney Critchlow, Joseph Meakin, Theo Bettany, Logan Robinson, Lewis Sale, Louis Torr, Harry Byrne, Oliver Hall, and George Bailey.

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