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Whitewash reflects contrast in teams' respective fortunes

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 29, 2014

  • Ian Harris was among the Leek try scorers in the team's one-sided victory over Aston Old Edwardians.

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Aston Old Edwardians 0 Leek 81

GIVEN the diverse positions these respective clubs are in this season, the heavy score not surprisingly reflected that.

Leek fielded a side that showed several changes from the last couple of weeks, with Simon and Ollie Drew finding their way onto the bench.

Jack Conlon started at hooker and Neil Edge on the flank, and Dan Smith was at full back.

The opening 10 minutes saw the home side, with the slope and wind advantage start promisingly, and Leek were forced to defend their line with some urgency.

As the siege lifted, Leek began to move the ball and scored four tries in the first half, despite a 10 minute spell when the heavens opened and thunderstorm erupted.

The second half proved to be more fruitful as the league leaders put together some flowing moves to add another nine tries.

James Floyd scored five tries, Dan Smith three and Nick Palmer, Simon Drew, Liam McDermott, Ed Harrison and Ian Harris scored one each.

Gary McDermott added to the scoreline with eight conversions.

In other games, the result of the day went to Bridgnorth, who beat Crewe and Nantwich 29-0. The Shropshire side have won six league games in a row and along with Leek, feature in the Midlands Intermediate semi-finals matches this Saturday.

Old Salts won at Stafford and Moseley Oak won at Tamworth, while two other games were postponed due to the weather.

On Saturday, February 8, Bridgnorth visit Esterchem Park for a vital league encounter with Leek.

Leek's latest win and Crewe's defeat sees the Moorlanders increase their lead at the head of the table to 11 points.

However, the pack behind is closing, with Bridgnorth and Moseley Oak, along with Crewe, all in the hunt with games in hand.

With all of the promotion contenders to play each other, anything can happen and the side that can have a bit of luck, stay injury free and play to their best will deserve to win it.

Ahead of that, though, are Saturday's Midlands Intermediate Cup semi-finals.

Bridgnorth have to travel to league leaders in Midlands 2 East (South), Leighton Buzzard. They remain the Midlands only unbeaten side at this level, but with the All Blacks running into some scintillating form, they should give Leighton a great game.

Leek travel to Newbold on Avon, lying second to Leighton Buzzard. The Warwickshire side have been going well this season and it is over 20 years since Leek last played Newbold in the league, so it's going to be a new experience. Leek's members are rallying to support their team and two coaches will leave Esterchem Park at 10.30am on Saturday.

Everyone is urged to turn up one time as the team will need to prepare before the game. The coaches are now fully booked.

Leek 3rds 74 Hanford 10

THIS game started evenly enough, with Leek putting the first points on the board courtesy of Tom Fairhurst with the first of his four tries which earned him man-of-the-match

However, Hanford quickly brought the score level with an unconverted try. With the experienced Dan Needham (returning from injury) pulling the strings at scrum half, it wasn't long before Leek had brought the score back to level and taken a healthy lead going into half-time.

The second half was much the same as the first, with Leek using the Wall Lane pitch's slope to their advantage and running in a further six tries.

To Hanford's credit, they persevered for most of the game but with players having to retire injured and even with the help of loaned players from Leek, the game was way beyond salvaging.

Tries from Fairhurst (4) Needham (2) Barker, Laverick, Carter, Titley, Skinner and A Smith – with seven conversions from Hicks – enabled Leek to register their biggest win of the season so far.

MEANWHILE, Leek's under-9s travelled to Trentham for a triple-header fixture against their hosts and Longton:

Trentham 10 Leek 40

LEEK dominated this game from the start and scored two quick tries through Kinney Critchlow and Sam Heath.

Trentham tried hard to close the score down but Leek kept them out with some strong tackling from Sam Heath, Joshua Nadin and Noah Reaney.

Leek broke through again and this time Joseph Meakin set up Theo Bethany to score.

Leek kept making substitutions to ensure that their players all had a run out on a bitterly cold and wet morning.

This did not seem to upset Leek's game, though, as Kinney Critchlow slipped through to grab another try.

Trentham were a more attack-minded team in the second half and soon pulled a try back

However, Leek were quickly on the scoresheet again as Critchlow completed his hat-trick.

Trentham were hurt but still put up a brave battle before Joshua Nadin made it 30-5 for Leek. Sam Heath then scored his second try to make it 35-5.

Trentham scored a late try through some slick play by Oliver Hall, who set up Joseph Meakin to finish the game off.

Longton 15 Leek 10

THIS game was a complete contrast to Leek's opener against Trentham.

Leek were up against a bigger, stronger team and unfortunately failed to take control.

After a lot of pressure, Longton took the lead.

Leek fought back hard, taking a lot of contact from Longton and forcing the best out of their defence.

Kinney Critchlow came close to scoring and Sam Heath and Theo Bettany pushed Longton's defence, but no tries were scored. Longton caught Leek on the break and a gallant effort by Noah Reaney to stop Longton was in vain, as they extended their lead.

Leek came out fighting in the second half and Josh Nadin found room to slip the ball over to reduce the deficit.

Longton used all their strength with the bigger boys to push Leek's defence to their limits and regained a two-try lead.

Leek made some changes and tried to spread the ball to gain some space. These tactics worked and allowed Sam Heath through to reduce the score to 15-10.

Leek almost levelled the score, with Noah Reaney going close.

Leek U11s 0 Wilmslow U11s 30

THIS was the first ever fixture between the two sides.

Wilmslow have a rich heritage and can attract players from many schools, from public to private. This showed in the way they played and, quite simply, they were the best team Leek have ever faced.

The way all the Wilmslow team passed the ball at pace and their retention skills were second to none.

Leek played two games and lost both three tries to nil.

What Leek have in spades is grit and determination, with players such as Harvey Dunleavy, Charlie Breen and Jarred Leftwich leading the way.

Leek kept smashing down the incessant attacks with big hits from Hayden Heath, Joe Byrne and Tom Hollinsworth.

Trentham U12s 17 Leek U12s 35

LEEK travelled the short distance to face local rivals Trentham and despite the cold, wet conditions, they put on a show of rugby to warm all the spectators' hearts.

Trentham pushed forward right from the start, determined to pen the visitors back, but excellent work from forwards Max Hine, Reagan Chell and Rowan Blanchard denied the home side the chance to score.

In an evenly-contested first period, both sides cancelled each other out with superb tackling and defensive organisation.

Full back Sam Brereton swept up any kicks and ran them straight back at the Potteries team.

Leek began to get the better of the scrum and good work from hooker Callum McCarron saw Leek win one against the head which freed Will Midwinter to race clear and score in the corner. Trentham then re-grouped and following a clever kick up field they scored a deserved try which was not converted leaving the half-time score 5-7 in Leek's favour.

With Leek edging the forward battle, good rucking from Henry Weetman and Tom Leach secured the ball which scrum half Sam Lloyd spun wide for fly half Midwinter to ground in the corner for his second try of the day. Once more, the home team came back and through a number of phases, worked up the pitch and scored for a second time.

The game had now become more open as the wet and windy conditions made the pitch even heavier going.

A sharp pass from Mitch Whilock released Josh De Gale to storm half the length of the pitch before brave tackling saw him brought to ground. Captain Joel Hine was on hand to pick up and crash over the line despite the best efforts of two defenders.

Trentham were not done yet and crossed the Leek try line once more, but failed to convert.

The visitors moved through the gears and thanks to a now-dominant forward pack, worked the ball along the back line to give Josh De Gale an opening to run at the defence to score a try his effort deserved.

The final try of the day went to prop Josh Sales, who showed a clean pair of heels as he rounded the Trentham back line. Midwinter converted all five Leek tries.

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