KCs 13 Leek 17
KIDDERMINSTER made a lively start but their momentum was disrupted by some careless passing and wayward line-out throws.
The visitors were the first to come close to scoring approaching the quarter of an hour mark when they were held up just short of the goal line.
KC’s scrum was, however, imposing itself and winning penalties at the set pieces, from one of them they found touch on the Leek ten metre line.
From the line-out possession they knitted together some fluent phases which culminated in a fine try for centre Rhys Pritchard and a 5-0 lead with twenty two minutes played.
Just two minutes later at a scrum twenty five metres in front of their posts the home pack’s superiority at the set piece was ended with the award of a penalty to Leek but the kick at goal by flyhalf Gary McDermott was hooked wide.
Kidder’s scrum dominance earned two more penalties around the visitors' 22, both of which were run but when the ball carrier became isolated Leek were themselves awarded a penalty and able to clear to touch.
They secured the line-out possession but were hounded into giving away another penalty twenty five metres out and this time skipper Chris Pinner went for goal but his kick appeared to go directly over the top of the right hand post and was therefore not given.
Having survived this spell of KC’s pressure, Leek launched a concerted attack of their own and the hosts were at full stretch to keep out a series of drives which saw the visitors’ backs joining in with their forwards.
Leek’s line-out had been working smoothly but when they had a great opportunity eight metres out the ball was overthrown and Kidder were able to clear.
They were, however, now under the cosh and were forced into conceding three penalties in quick succession.
The first two were run without much success and on the third occasion McDermott went for the sticks from just inside the ten metre line but was again wide of the mark.
The miss brought to an end a first half which had for the most part seen the two defences on top.
Leek’s second half kick off was well claimed by their forwards to spark some menacing attacks by the visitors and a high kick to the right corner won them a penalty at which they opted for a scrum.
The decision was justified with a drive that earned another penalty and this time there was no stopping them as they rumbled over the whitewash with hooker Ed Cheadle being credited with the try and McDermott’s conversion from wide out put them ahead for the first time 7-5.
KCs hit back in style, using scrum possession on Leek’s 22 to trigger a terrific passage of play which produced a second excellently worked try, this time for centre George Morgan, to put them back in front 10-7.
It was an impressive response and a strong run by Leek’s right wing Tom Scragg was then countered by some more smart Kidder interchanges which almost saw Morgan break clear again only to be thwarted by a forward pass.
A high tackle by KCs coceded a penalty which McDermott kicked over from thirty metres to level the scores at 10-10 with more than twenty minutes still to play.
Kidder’s restart did not go ten metres and from the resultant scrum possession Leek replacement Ed Harrison made inroads before a deliberate knock-on handed the visitors a penalty which they kicked to five metres. At the line-out KCs were guilty of playing the man in the air and this time Leek ran the penalty to create a threat on the left but the hosts covered well and a penalty for not releasing gave them an exit route.
It was to and fro but with ten minutes on the clock the hosts tried to mount a barnstorming finish and following a damaging surge by No 8 Layton Wilkinson and another fine passage of play replacement Ryan Wainwright came within a whisker of scoring.
Now it was Leek on the rack and although they survived a KCs five metre scrum they finally cracked with time almost up, conceding a penalty which Pinner calmly despatched and the spoils seemed destined for the home side.
However, for the second time, Kidder allowed Leek to win their own restart ball and after kicking a penalty to five metres, with the last play of the game, they set up a line-out drive again bolstered by a number of their backs which proved unstoppable as a sea of blue shirts crashed over the line for the clinching try, converted by McDermott, to snatch the victory and consign KCs to a consolation single losing bonus point.
KC’s are without a fixture next week and will return to league action on February 11 with a trip to Newcastle (Staffs) – KO 2.15 pm.