Champagne corks popped as Kestrels celebrate title

Cleckheaton Kesrels celebrate winning the Merit League title.
Cleckheaton Kesrels celebrate winning the Merit League title.
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The champagne corks were finally popped at Moorend last Saturday as Cleckheaton Kestrels celebrated winning the Yorkshire Merit Championship.

The Kestrels had effectively clinched the title by beating third placed York on March 9 but the champagne was, quite literally, put on ice when several matches were postponed by the freezing weather.

Cleckheaton finally entertained Keighley last week ready to celebrate in style, although the game was not a pretty affair.

Patrick Horrigan eventually broke the deadlock when the powerful winger drove over in the corner and he added a second, blasting his way to the line.

Chris Piper had an effort ruled out for obstruction before Tom Crewe twisted over for Cleck’s third first half try, all converted by Jarrad Toulson for a 21-0 interval lead.

Keighley did manage to pull a converted try back after the break but it couldn’t prevent the Kestrel’s 18th win from 19 matches and there was even time for a cameo 20 minute appearance from club chairman Neil Gillan.

This has been an excellent season for the Kestrels under the guidance of coach Gordon Piper and manager Bob Wilson which has seen a number young players get a solid start in senior rugby with U19 Colts players Jack Seddon, Josh White, Cameron Brannan, Lewis Beasty, Harry Bairstow and George Speight making a valuable contributions.

n Cleckheaton Under-16s ran in nine tries in a dominant display against Leeds Corinthians. Alex Hogg scored four, Jacob Panther (two), Oliver Clark, Joe Humphreys and Niall Davison also crossed. Mikey Bray landed two goals and MoM was Kieran Dawson.