RUGBY Staffordshire Senior Cup, preliminary round
Leek 1st XV 36 Willenhall 13
LEEK opened the new season with a game against promoted Willenhall in a match to determine the quarter final pairings of the Staffs Senior Cup.
With Willenhall joining Leek in Midlands Two West (North) – having won Three West (North) easily last season – it was going to be a good workout for both sides ahead of their first league game next week.
Bobby Cheadle, Ed’s brother, started at hooker with Jason Milner and Jamie Gordon at prop.
Tom Sims and Luke Hardern were at lock with Andy McFadden at No.8 and Luke Granger and Neil Edge on the flanks.
Ian Harris and skipper Gary McDermott were at half back with the Hunt brothers, George and Sam, in the centres. Nick Palmer and James Floyd were on the wings with Jack Newton-Taylor at fullback.
James Wilson, Liam McDermott and Ed Cheadle were on the bench.
Leek sprung out of the blocks, and McDermott stripped the ball in midfield on seven minutes, for lock Luke Hardern to crash over under the posts for the first try of the season. Sam Hunt converted.
On 14 minutes, Willenhall’s first foray into the Leek 22 saw Newton-Taylor yellow carded for not releasing and Willenhall’s fly half reduced the deficit with a well taken penalty.
On 21 minutes, Leek had a lineout on the Willenhall 22. A quick ruck in midfield sucked the defence in and left space for Nick Palmer to score a try in the left corner. Hunt missed the conversion. George Hunt then took a soft pass and burst under the posts for Leek’s third try. Brother Sam converted.
At half-time, Ed Cheadle came on as hook and brother Bobby moved to prop. Leek changed Luke Hardern for James Wilson in the second row and soon afterwards, Willenhall’s open side flanker crashed over for a deserved score, which was converted.
On 58 minutes, Liam McDermott came on for Sam Hunt, but it was Willenhall who now began to dominate possession. Another penalty from Willenhall’s fly half for offside saw Leek’s lead reduced to 19-13.
On 70 minutes, from a clearance kick fielded inside their own 22, the Willenhall right wing collected a pass and started a great run, evading several tackles before being hauled down.
The ball was stripped and Leek’s Jack Newton- Taylor went up the right wing, evading two players to go under the posts. McDermott converted and at 26-13, Leek had steadied the position.
On 76 minutes, Leek had a lineout on the Willenhall 22 and after a ruck, quick ball to McDermott saw James Wilson on the burst with a nice angle to score under the posts. McDermott converted and at 33-13 the game was beyond the visitors now.
McDermott added a 79th minute penalty to complete the scoring at 36-13.
Leek 1st XV entertain Old Saltleians in the first league fixture of the season this Saturday, starting at 3pm.
The remainder of September sees Leek away at Stafford on the 21st in the league and then on the 28th, they entertain Dronfield in the RFU Intermediate Cup. This game will be on the Oval, kick off 3pm.