Midlands 2 West (N) 
6th November 2021, 2:15 pm
31 - 17
Longton 1st XV
Leek Rugby Club

Match Report

In a contested derby at Esterchem Park Leek prevailed over Longton by 31pts. to 17.

Longton were without second rows Rich Thompson and Martin Ellis and lost the influential and experienced Gaz Rawlings to a back injury after only 6mins. Joe Hall and Jake Boatfield were also out  of the back division at a wedding  meaning that back row forward, Paul Housely played in the centre.

The visitors started strongly and took the lead in the first two minutes. The pack drove powerfully forward and released the ball to the backs who spun it along the line out to Liam Powell on the left wing and he touched down in the corner for the opening try. Grant Hallam’ well-struck conversion attempt went just wide but Longton led by 5pts. to nil. Just 3mins. later Longton again struck with a break down the centre which saw Sam Durmigan burst through to score under the posts; Grant Hallam landed the simple conversion to put Longton 12-0pts. in front.

At this point in the game Gaz Rawlings suffered a painful back injury which forced him from the field with Longton now missing their most influential forward. This was a signal for Leek to start to come more into the game by winning more possession which they had failed to do in those early minutes. The half hour mark was reached before Leek’s first score came; a penalty kick to the corner led to a powerful driving maul which saw them force the ball over the line for the try. The conversion attempt missed leaving the score at 12-5pts.

With 5mins. of injury time played for the Rawlings’ injury Leek were able to score their second try though a midfield break aided by some missed tackles by their opponents. The conversion was good levelling the scores at 12pts. each at half-time.

Early in the 2nd. half Leek missed a penalty from 40m. shortly after Longton prop, Ant Cornwell was yellow carded for a high tackle. With 15mins. left to play a strong forward drive by the Leek forwards led to their 3rd. try. The conversion was good putting the home side in front by 19-12pts. Longton came back strongly and scored a superb try through fly-half, Grant Hallam who made a searing break down the left flank to touch down. He did, however, miss the difficult conversion making the score 19-17pts. With about 15mins. left to play Leek scored another try in the right corner. The conversion went wide leaving the score at 24-17pts,

Leek won the ball from the kick-off after some confusion in the Longton receivers and it allowed Leek to secure the ball; a very strong run was aided by six Longton defenders all missing the tackle, as if in shock at losing the kick-off. This resulted in Leek scoring the decisive try which was converted to make the final score 31-17pts. and thus Leek preserving their unbeaten start to the season.

M Wheat.