Midlands 2 West (N) 
29th February 2020, 2:15 pm
Longton 1st XV
26 - 10
Longton Rugby Club

Match Report

For the first time this season Longton fielded their full strength pack and in so doing totally dominated the forward battle in helping their side to a convincing 26-10pts. win over local rivals Leek.
The early snow covering had disappeared by kick-off and the pitch, as always, was in excellent condition.
Although the home side had the majority of the early play, thanks to their forwards, some minor handling errors prevented any conversion into tries. Thus, it was not until the 29th. minute that the first score came. The ball was won out on the right flank before being passed swiftly left through many pairs of hands for last receiver, Gaz Rawlings, dived over in the corner for a fine team try. The difficult conversion into the wind missed but Longton led by 5pts. to nil.
As half-time approached the Longton pack again demonstrated their domination when a strong drive saw Martin Ellis get the touchdown. Joe Hall converted to make the score 12-0pts. as half-time was reached.
Longton had the slight advantage of the crosswind in the second half but it was Leek who came out firing. With just 4mins. gone they moved the ball swiftly left and were able to cross over the try line in the corner; the conversion fell short but the visitors were now on the scoreboard with a 12-5pts. deficit.
The Longton domination up front again came to the fore as they charged forward to drive over, Rich Thompson getting the touchdown. Joe Hall converted to make it 19-5pts.
During the next 10mins. Longton took their foot off the gas conceding penalty after penalty allowing Leek to grab the initiative. This brought the visitors second try; the conversion missed making it 19-10pts. and leaving Longton still two scores ahead.
With the clock entering the last 5mins. Longton were able to notch their fourth and bonus point try, courtesy of the pack once again. This time the hard-charging skipper, Pete Wilshaw, took a quick tap penalty from in front of the posts and barged his way over. Joe Hall converted to make the final score 26-10pts. ensuring that Longton picked up 5pts., including the 4 try bonus point. This helped to close the gap on Leek immediately above them.
Pick of the Leek squad were former Longton players Joel Booth and Naz Narawa who both gave it their all with some strong ball carrying. For Longton, Charlie Rushton on his return to scrum- half provided a fast and slick service to his backs as well as the occasional sniping on his own to keep the Leek defence honest.
The sponsors Man-of-the-Match was awarded to the entire Longton pack whose total domination throughout the game provided the platform for the win.
Next week Longton host Camp Hill in a re-arranged game from last week’s postponement.
M. Wheat.