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Ross Hayden led the way with two tries, a conversion and a penalty as Cleckheaton strengthened their grip at the top of North One East.
Ross Hayden led the way with two tries, a conversion and a penalty as Cleckheaton strengthened their grip at the top of North One East.

Cleckheaton strengthened their grip at the top of North One East thanks to a four-try bonus point victory as they won 25-13 at Wheatley Hills.

The home side opened the scoring with a Johnny Woodcock penalty but Cleck replied with a well-worked try.

No8 Richard Piper picked the ball up from a scrum and made good ground. Play was moved right where Johhno Marshall and Ryan Piercy made further progress.

Cleck worked the ball back to Richard Piper, who barged over the line despite the attention of two Hills defenders. Ross Hayden added the extras.

Cleckheaton continued to apply the pressure and Matthew Piper crashed onto a short ball from Jack Bickerdike but the joy was short lived as the referee chalked off the score for a forward pass, although a Hayden penalty extended the lead to 10-3

Cleckheaton’s defence and tactical kicking, which has been one of their strengths all year, was working well and the Moorenders went further in front when a jinking run from Matt Piper advanced play to the edge of Wheatley’s 22.

The ball was spun out to Johnno Marshall who stepped inside and fed Ross Hayden.

Despite a robust challenge, Hayden managed to plant the ball down between his legs before being bundled into touch. His conversion attempt hit the post.

Cleckheaton fumbled the ball at the restart and from the ensuing scramble Wheatley were awarded a penalty and Woodcock pulled three points back just before the break.

Cleckheaton began the second period strongly as Michael Piper put up a high spiralling bomb, which was allowed to bounce and Grant Turton set up a rolling maul, which resulted in Andy Piper scoring an unconverted try.

Wheatley’s best period followed as they piled on the pressure and Cleck had a man sin-binned.

Cleckheaton defended manfully and held firm against a prolonged onslaught with some determined tackling from the whole team.

A fantastic run from Rob Afoa-Peterson skittled two Wheatley defenders before Mike Piper kicked through. The ball was spread along the backs and James Wilson fed Ross Hayden, who dummied before diving over for Cleckheaton’s bonus point try and a 25-6 lead.

Wheatley picked up a consolation try in the last 10 minutes, when a rare defensive lapse allowed centre Jordan Ajimati to power through for a try between the posts.

The bonus point win was also the perfect way to kick off an evening drink with centre Lee Queeley before the RAF serviceman flies to Afghanistan for a second tour of duty to the country.