Midlands 2 West (N) 
19th February 2022, 2:15 pm
Longton 1st XV
7 - 22
Longton Rugby Club

Match Report

After heavy overnight and early morning snow and rain, a lengthy pitch inspection by the referee and both captains it was decided that the game would go ahead with a 15min. delay to the kick-off time. In the event the pitch drained well and a good contest ensued with league leaders, Leek, coming out on top of a hard-fought game by 22-7pts. against a much-depleted Longton side. The hosts were without hooker, George Glenn, who is out for the season with a hand injury. In addition, forwards Paul Housley and Eroni Lukaku were a absent as well as backs Tom Hughes, Jordan Hough, Sam Bedworth and Joe Hall.

Grant Hallam moved from full-back to scrum-half with Ben Turner coming in at full-back and Chris Edmondson was at hooker.

In a generally evenly contested game Leek were able to convert their chances into tries whereas Longton were thwarted by a stubborn Leek defence when the hosts were only metres from the try line.

Leek took the lead after only 4mins. with a slick move across the back line managed to get around the Longton defence for a fine try. The conversion was good giving Leek a 7-0pts. lead. The next 15mins. saw Leek gain the territorial advantage but Longton defended well. Then, after 20mins. Leek scored their second try when they were able to make ground with a series of penalties; a kick to the corner from one such penalty resulted in a powerful driving maul over the line. The difficult conversion into the wind was wide but Leek now led by 10pts. to nil. The next score from Leek came after 30mins. when a good backs’ move caught Longton on the wrong foot and a mazey run through the centre brought the try. The conversion was good making it 17-0pts. at half-time.

The second half saw Longton have the territorial advantage for much of the half but again Leek’s defence held out on several occasions with some fine last-ditch tackling. However, Longton managed to eventually to score when a powerful forward drive saw Gareth Rawlings plunge over. Grant Hallam converted to make the score 17-7pts.With 8mins. to go Leek managed to break out of their own half to take play deep into the Longton “22” before their forwards drove hard into the corner for the final try. The difficult conversion drifted wide and Leek ended with a well-deserved 22-7pts. win.

There are no matches next week.

M Wheat.