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Trowbridge withstand Leek fightback to lift RFU Intermediate Cup

04 May 2014

  • Wiltshire side Trowbridge hold on in frantic finale
  • Leek skipper Gary McDermott proud of performance and conduct of Staffordshire side
Trowbridge v Leek in the RFU Intermediate Cup final

Photo: Capture the Event

Trowbridge withstood a fierce fightback from Leek to secure a 22-19 victory and lift the RFU Intermediate Cup after a nail-biting contest.

The Wiltshire side established a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go but determined Leek closed the gap with a converted try and were pushing heavily for what would have been a winning score when the final whistle sounded.

Trowbridge captain Matthew Howard said: “The last five minutes were 50/50 whether we would get there, but we always believed in our defence and we got the crucial turnover to see it out.

“Leek were fantastic today – every time we scored, they came straight back and when they got a yellow card to go down to 14, it actually galvanised their team.

“For any amateur, to run out at Twickenham is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and today has been incredible.”

Leek dominated territory in the opening exchanges and could have opened the scoring on 11 minutes, but Gary McDermott hooked his penalty wide.

The Staffordshire club continued to press, but failed to find a breakthrough and Trowbridge’s David Davis put his team ahead against the run of play with a simple tee-shot.

Leek’s response was swift, and powerful hooker Luke Granger peeled off the back of a lineout to sneak over almost unnoticed for five points.

The lead was only short-lived, however, as Trowbridge replacement Karl Parry barreled over from close-range for a score that Davis converted.

Referee Luke Haskins then denied Leek a try for a knock-on over the line, before Trowbridge fullback Jackson Szabo’s outstanding individual effort from inside his own half increased the deficit to 10 points shortly after the restart.

Captain McDermott sliced through the opposition defence and added the extras to keep Leek in touch, but their cause was hampered when Haskins sin-binned Ed Harrison for a tip-tackle.

When prop Sean Jones touched down and Davis converted 14 minutes from time, Trowbridge appeared to have wrapped up the result.

But Leek, with Harrison back on the field, battled gallantly and wing James Floyd exploited a gaping hole in the defensive line to leave McDermott with a routine conversion and set up a grandstand finish.

The Midlands Two West (North) champions had all the momentum and exerted immense pressure in the dying moments.

Granger was called held-up and the resultant scrum was reset as it marched forward, but that was as close as Leek came and Trowbridge emerged victorious.

Leek skipper Gary McDermott said: “It was special: everything from the changing rooms to seeing all the supporters from Leek and from Trowbridge as well.

“We didn’t get the result but, to a man, we gave it everything. Right at the end we thought we were going to sneak it but it wasn’t to be, and I think we can be proud, both of the way we played and the way we conducted ourselves.”

Trowbridge

15 Jackson Szabo
14 James MacFarlane
13 Joseph Knight
12 Daniel Smith
11 James Davies
10 David Davis
9 Kyle Knight

1 Lee Fairclough
2 Dave Martin
3 Sean Jones
4 Matthew Howard (c)
5 Scott Williams
6 Adam Sullivan
7 Barry Coombs
8 Shane Johnstone

Replacements:

16 Sam Edwards
17 Karl Parry
18 Mark Durant
19 Tom Coombs
20 Alan Chadwick
21 Ashley Chalk
22 Thomas Weaver

Leek

15 Samuel Hunt
14 James Floyd
13 Nicholas Palmer
12 Liam McDermott
11 Jack Newton-Taylor
10 Gary McDermott (c)
9 Ian Harris

1 Tom Hine
2 Luke Granger
3 Robert Cheadle
4 Edward Harrison
5 Thomas Sims
6 Luke Staton
7 Adam Nettel
8 Sokonaia Narawa

Replacements:

16 Luke Harden
17 James Wilson
18 Andrew McFadden
19 Daniel Needham
20 James Milner
21 Shane Dicker
22 Daniel Cooper