Cleck cracking the derby whip

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CLECKHEATON will be training like professionals over Christmas as they aim to be in peak condition when the North One East campaign resumes in the new year.

Senior players were training last night and although there is no game tomorrow, as the league campaign takes a fortnight’s break, the Moorenders have slotted in an additional session.

The squad have been given Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off but Cleckheaton will use their traditional Boxing Day fixture away to Old Brodleians as a full first team game.

The coaching staff had considered squeezing in a club match this weekend but Cleckheaton will instead send a full side to Brods and it should provide a good run out as they prepare to put together a winning run, starting at home to another of their local rivals, Old Crossleyans, on January 5.

Cleckheaton produced a vastly improved defensive display last Saturday as they pushed high-flying Sheffield close.

The Moorenders had a chance to level the scores with the last kick of the game but Iain Gordon’s conversion attempt to Robin Bennett’s injury time try drifted narrowly wide.

The losing bonus point Cleck picked up in South Yorkshire means they sign off 2012 in sixth place, just four points behind the Crossleyans and they will look to make further progress up the table when they return to league action.

Prolific back row man Richard Piper was not on the scoresheet last week but it was his fierce drive forward that set up Bennett’s try.

Piper has scored 20 league tries already this season and looks a good bet to reach the 20 mark for a second successive season.

Brods, who were relegated from North One East last season, are in danger of dropping further down the league pyramid as they are third-bottom in Yorkshire Division One.

However, old friendships will be renewed and whatever the outcome on Boxing Day, the festivities are sure to be enjoyed by members of both clubs.