Leek won this hard-fought local derby game against Longton at Easterchem Park by 21pts. to 13.
In front of a large crowd the early exchanges were evenly balanced with Leek having the edge in the scrums and at the lineout. Longton were guilty of some unforced handling errors and conceding too many penalties. However, it was the visitors who scored first through a 35m. penalty from Sam Bedworth in the 18th. minute.
Leek came back strongly with some powerful ball carrying particularly by former Longton captain, Joel Booth. In the 30th. minute they chose to kick a penalty into the corner from where they executed a perfect catch-and-drive to score the opening try of the game in the left hand corner. The conversion missed but Leek led by 5 – 3pts.
In the last 10mins. of the first- half Longton began to dominate possession and territory and possession but could not find a way through a solid home defence. Powerful ball carriers Gaz Rawlings and Pete Wilshaw were being stopped in their tracks.
The visitors had a chance to take the lead just before the half ended but Sam Bedworth’s 40m. kick went just wide. Half-time arrived with no addition to the scoreline.
Leek increased their lead to 8-3pts. 5mins. into the second half with a 35m. penalty. Just 5mins. later Longton reduced the lead when Sam Bedworth landed a penalty from in front of the posts to make it 8-6pts. Two minutes later Leek increased their lead with a penalty from 40m. to make the score 11-6pts.
The next 20mins. saw Longton endeavouring to pull back the deficit but sloppy handling errors and wayward passes spoiled several good opportunities.
With 32mins. gone Longton fumbled a Leek kick-ahead to allow the home side to score a surprise try. The conversion was good putting Leek ahead by a comfortable 18-6pts.
From the kick-off Longton left-wing, Mark Dougherty made a superb catch on the run to sprint over fr a superb try. Sam Bedworth converted to close the gap to 18-13pts.
Into the last 10mins. Leek had a penalty 50m. out but the attempted shot at goal was just short but with the last play of the game Leek were awarded another penalty, this from 35m. and it was slotted over to cap a 21-13pts. victory and so deny Longton a losing bonus point.