Second-half proves key

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Amber Valley 50 Leesbrook 16

Valley overcame what is looking like a customary slow start to pull away in the second-half, record an eighth successive win in the league and maintain their lead at the top of the table.

Leesbrook went ahead through an early penalty and it took a while before Valley finally got into the game with a pushover try, Ashley Allen coming up with the ball following a line-out catch and drive to take the lead and continued with a missed penalty attempt.

But Valley once again went to the corners to play percentage rugby and it eventually led to a penalty try for Leesbrook illegally disrupting a scrum that was converted by Shaun Dowdall.

Leesbrook then scored a well worked converted try to bring the score to 14-10 at the break.

Some stern words at half-time seemed to rouse Valley and they opened the half with a bang, Karl Bunting going over after good work by Allen and Will Hargreaves.

Valley scored another pushover try from a line-out catch and drive with usual suspect Adrian Head coming up with the ball.

Leesbrook weren’t finished, however, and their main attacking threat was able to break through a couple of tackles to score in the corner to bring his side to 15 points.

Valley’s response was immediate, as a deft kick over the defence by Dowdall caused all sorts of trouble for the covering Leesbrook players who, under pressure from Dowdall, managed to get the ball back over their own line where Dowdall was on hand to touch down for a fine solo effort.

A penalty try extended the lead further before sub Duran Wardale scored with only his second touch to put the game out of reach for the visitors.

Matt Rooke scored the final try of the game and what a try to finish on, with the ball going through the majority of the backs’ hands with a text book display of drawing the defender, Rooke was on hand to finish in the corner.

Coach Steve Grainger said: “It was as poor a first-half that I have seen all season, but massive credit to the players for coming through and showing what they were capable of in the second half.”

The Keepsafe Security Man of the Match award went to Shaun Dowdall, who had another excellent day with the boot and brought the backs into the game very well all afternoon.