Match Report Leek 10 – Stone RUFC 33
The game started with Stone taking full advantage of an electric back line as they were able to take advantage of gaps in the middle of the park and attack the Leek 22m early on. However, any chances of an early score were squashed by a resilient Leek defence who kept Stone out with a well organised defence.
The game settled into a reasonable flow with both sides mounting attacks, which were neutralised by a combination of good defence and poor handling from both sides. Stone were the dealt a blow as they were reduced to 14 after flanker Michael Moore was ejected from the field for foul play.
Despite being down a man Stone came into their own, with the forwards in particular starting to control the set pieces well to provide good ball for the Stone backs. It would be from a scrum that Stone would score their first points of the game. A solid scrum provided a great attacking threat for the Stone backline and Conor Norton would go on to carve up the Leek defence for his third try in two games with the extras added by Chris Hinchcliffe.
Solid interplay between the Stone backs and forwards has been a growing trend this season and terrific support from Sam Vivers would see the Hooker finish off a flowing move as Stone extended their lead to 14-0 with a second try dead on the stroke of half time.
Leek would start the second half as the better of the two teams and started to make serious headway using ‘crash’ balls to good effect and disorganising the Stone defence in the process. With 5 minutes gone in the second half Leek would score their first points of the game and bring the game to 5-14.
Stone began to reorganise with scrum half Sam Griffiths making a number of key turnovers in the defensive half of the pitch. From one of these turnovers a Stone counter attack would see them awarded a penalty around 30 metres out. With the game close Anthony Evans attempted to make a penalty attempted but missed to the right. Instead of grounding the ball from the miss, the Leek back three attempted a counter which was stopped by the Stone backline within the Leek 22m and a quick turnover would see Hinchcliffe score and convert to make the game 21-5.
Directly from the next kick off Stone would be in to score again. After a well recycled ball was passed along the line Hinchcliffe would make a 60m break to once again score, but this time miss the conversion to take the score to 26-5.
Leek were determined not to be beaten at home and began a sustained period of pressure within the Stone 22m. Time and again the hosts were kept from scoring thanks to determined defence and tactical awareness as precious minutes of the game were eaten up. Leek would eventually manage to break through after a sustained 8 minutes of pressure to bring the game to 26-10.
From the ensuing kick off Stone would once again press high up the field and began to contain Leek within their own 22m. After a penalty for holding on to the ball on the ground was awarded against Leek, Stone were able to boot the ball into 5m area of the Leek 22m. From the ensuing lineout yet another penalty was awarded, with Stone opting to take the scrum. As it had done all day, the Stone pack provided clean ball and allowed the back line to once again come together to put Hinchcliffe in for his hat trick and to make the game 33-10 as a final score.
Overall, another excellent game for Stone in testing conditions when reduced to 14 men. The Enson Lane outfit now sit well within the top 5 of the Staffordshire Division 1 league and will look to remain there as the season progresses.
With a weekend off Stone will return to action away at Cannock on December 10th.