Kidderminster Corolians 35 Leek 25
FOUR tries in 20 destructive second-half minutes ended Leek's Intermediate Cup hopes at the first hurdle.
Luke Granger had brought the first round tie back to 15-15 in the opening stages of the second half. But Kidderminster Corolians responded in devastating fashion before Fijian Tom Jones and Granger added respectability to the scoreline with further scores for the away side.
Leek captain Tom Hine said: "This game was always going to be tough as Kidderminster have a powerful pack and used the offload well. However, we did not embarrass ourselves."
Leek started with Jamie Gordon, Granger and James Milner in the front row. Tom Sims and Hine were at lock, which allowed Simon Drew, Matt Slinn and Andy McFadden to take up the back row positions.
Dan Needham continued at scrum-half alongside Gary McDermott, with Ian Harris returning to the centre to partner Shane Dickers. Sam Hunt was at full-back, with Nick Palmer and Jones on the wings.
The visitors enjoyed a bright start and claimed the opening try on 10 minutes. Leek's forwards controlled the ball, which was passed along the line into the hands of Jones, who powered through two tackles.
Jones then released McDermott who swerved around a couple of players to score the opening try before failing to add the extras.
Corolians immediately hit back. From the kick-off, they stole the ball and kicked to the five-metre line.
From the line-out, the hosts were able to use their superior pack power to score a well constructed try and level matters at 5-5.
Corolians failed to add the conversion, which proved an issue for the home side all game, but it was the hosts who began to dominate position, with Leek struggling to get hold of the ball against some strong off-load play and good handling.
However, Leek refused to wilt and, on 22 minutes, McDermott converted a penalty to move the visitors 8-5 in front.
Following an earlier warning, Leek lost Harris to the sin-bin on 28 minutes for offside, and with further pressure on the Leek defence, Corolians claimed a try before the break to move 10-8 ahead.
After the break, Corolians continued to control the ball and, with some flowing off-load play, were able to score another try for a 15-8 lead.
Hine had a few stern words to say and got the reaction he desired when Needham took control of the ball.
Following a darting run, he released Granger, who avoided a couple of would-be tacklers before speeding from halfway to score a fine try under the posts. McDermott converted to tie up the match at 15-15.
What followed over the next 20 minutes settled the contest.
Corolians scored four tries in the same manner - using their well-drilled offload style of play.
Leek refused to throw in the towel and, on 70 minutes, the impressive Granger was able to fend off a couple of tackles before finding Jones, who used his power to speed in at the corner.
Hunt missed the difficult conversion, but Leek were still not finished.
The fired up visitors produced a period of controlled aggression in the final stages, and with Granger leading from the front, he claimed his second try of the game for a final score of 35-25 in Corolians' favour.
On Saturday, Leek host Bridgnorth at F Ball Park, kick-off 3pm.
Saturday also doubles up as Leek Rugby Club's Ladies Day. The bar opens at 1.15pm and a buffet will be provided.