Leek Preview

By David Wilkinson

 

There is a morsel of history between the two towns that goes back 148 years, when in 1875 a group of players in Leek, got a team together of like-minded footballers to play by the Rugby Laws, against a team billed as Langley. Given the population of this little village back then, it highly likely that the majority of the Langley team were in fact Macclesfield men – Leek won home and away! The Macclesfield faithful will be hoping that this is not an omen, as the teams face each other for the first time in a league fixture.

There is of course another connection. When Andy Appleyard stepped down from his coaching role at Macclesfield, it wasn’t too long before he looked for another club to continue his coaching with. Not wanting to involve himself with a club, likely to compete with Macclesfield, he took himself to Staffordshire to help out at Leek, playing in Regional 2 North Midlands; safe in the knowledge that even if they did very well, and gained promotion, it would be into Midlands 1. The best laid plans and all that!

The teams that come up a league, will generally have a realistic plan of staying up, and will target the games that they believe they have a chance of winning. At the beginning of the season this wouldn’t have been one of them. But now with 15 points behind them it becomes more of a realistic challenge, and their big derby game of the season. Make no mistake about it, they will be up for it.

Two full squads making proper game situations at training

This week, after the lay-off, Head Coach Darren Lamon and the Coaches have had the benefit of selecting from the full squad bar Harry Blackwell and Matt Harrison who are taking another week’s recuperation. These were Darren’s thoughts after Thursday night’s training: “The boys have trained really well this week, and they are itching to go again after the Rossendale game. We’re continuing the rotation, so some boys are missing out this week, but it will make for an interesting 2nd team. Leek will get all the respect they deserve, they have a good home record, and from what I’m told have a slick 9, 12 and 15, with a ball-carrying 8; we will aim to play our same away game strategy, that has served us well”.

Practicing set plays at training for the challenge against Leek

Three of the usual starters in the pack, come back into the team, the big change is Josh DeGroot starting, with Harry Harding on the bench – expect some second row early-bonfire-fireworks at some stage. The other big change is the return of Tom Morton into the team, a niggling injury up at Penrith, has kept him out for 6 weeks. Whatever Apps knows of the Macc players, Leek will play their own game, whilst chucking-the-kitchen-sink at us. But putting a lid on the Macc attack is a tall order, they attack teams from all angles, still scoring six tries against Rossendale’s super-stars last time out. Expect a big partisan crowd; come and be loud, and get behind the boys, and help put matters straight from 1875; but leave a little earlier as temporary lights on the A520 south of Leek is delaying traffic. The team for Saturday is: 1. Simeon Meek, 2. Ollie Longmore, 3. Samir Tahraoui, 4. Rhys Davies, 5. Josh DeGroot, 6. Brendan Berry, 7. Tom Burden, 8. James Oliver Captain, 9. Dan Martin, 10. Charlie Attis, 11. Sam Adu, 12. Terence Babarinsa, 13. Harry Oliver, 14. Tom Jennings, 15. John O’Donnell, 16. Dan Percival, 17. Harry Harding, 18. Tom Morton.

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