CLECKHEATON RU ground out a hard-fought victory on a cold afternoon in Middlesbrough as they continued their improvement in North One East last Saturday.
Cleckheaton made fewer errors than their hosts, while they dominated the line-outs with Ollie Akroyd again in terrific form.
The Moorenders will be pleased with their efforts and will feel confident that with a little more luck with injuries, they can continue to climb the table.
It was, however, Boro who opened the scoring when full-back Jack Bircham landed a 20 metre penalty.
Both sides were guilty of handling errors and after 10 minutes there was an altercation which resulted in Cleckheaton prop Paul Turner receiving a yellow card.
Basic handling errors continued and it was only the tactical kicking of Iain Gordon and the visitors dominance in the line-out that improved matters.
Cleck began the second half with a spell of pressure which resulted in lock Danny Nolan driving his big frame through the Boro defence for a try which Gordon converted.
The hosts hit back strongly and scrum-half Peter Whittaker darted over for his side’s try, which Simon Moore converted.
Gordon levelled matters with a penalty and as the game entered the final quarter, Cleckheaton’s pack raised their intensity.
Boro initially held the powerful driving play of Cleck’s eight but prolific try scorer Richard Piper latched onto a terrific rolling maul to score a try, which was expertly converted by Gordon.
Despite the strong efforts from a big Boro side, Cleckheaton held out and were good value for their win and can now look to games against sides in the lower reaches of the division with confidence.
Cleckheaton have also confirmed that their Yorkshire Cup tie against National League Three North unbeaten leaders Harrogate will be played at Moorend on Saturday November 10.
There is a great team spirit within this Cleckheaton side, together with a good blend of experienced players such as Steve Worsley and the dogged hard graft of Ryan Piercy, mixed with the growing maturity of the three Piper brothers, Ross Hayden, Martin Woodhead and Danny Nolan, this team can become contenders for honours in the coming months.
Both Jack Bickerdike and Gordon are also starting to control the direction of play and their partnership will be vital in key games.
n Cleckheaton Kestrels maintained their excellent form beating Pocklington 43-24. Tries came from Lamb (two), Sergeant, Brannan, Mason and White, while Jack Seddon impressed on his Kestrels debut.
n Cleckheaton Under-13s extended their 100 per cent record with a 63-7 win over Barnsley.
Joe Tilby-Baxter bagged a hat-trick of tries and kicked a goal, Drew Judge-Clark and Harry Sutcliffe scored two each, the latter with his first of the season, while James Walker, Alex Ibbotson and Jake Holloway, on his first appearance, also crossed.
Dominic Howarth kicked three goals and Ryan Connell was Cleckheaton’s MoM.
With Cleck leading 36-0 at half-time, Connell, Ciaran Lewis, Judge-Clark, Lewis Duggan, Oliver Barker and Darren Ali-Scott all turned out for Barnsley, with Ali-Scott scoring their consolation try.