Durham City 6
CLECKHEATON maintained their impressive recent form in North One East with victory over injury hit Durham City.
Iain Gordon had an early chance but his 35-metre penalty attempt drifted wide.
Durham responded with a spell of pressure but Cleck’s defence remained solid and forced the home side to knock on.
Jack Bickerdike scooped up the ball and took play to halfway before James Wilson hacked it forward, forcing the full-back to clear his lines under pressure from Jonathon Marshall.
A good catch and set by Ryan Piercy saw the forwards drive for the line and after Richard Piper was held up short, Ollie Akroyd dived over for his first try since returning to the club.
As the try was awarded a fight broke out between players on the ground and Danny Nolan was sin-binned for retaliation.
Cleck weathered the 10 minute period with a man down and almost increased their lead when Ross Hayden made a sublime break and put in a crossfield kick it agonisingly bounced dead before Wilson pounced and it remained 5-0 at half-time.
City fly-half Arnie Stevenson kicked an early second half penalty but Cleckheaton responded well and after they were held up over the line and were then penalised when attempting to drive the resulting scrum over.
Akroyd secured the ball from a Steve Worsley line-out and drove forward. Nolan and Richard Piper broke off the maul and dived over with the latter, inevitably, getting his ninth try this season. Gordon converted.
City reduced the arrears with another Stevenson penalty, leading to a nervous last 10 minutes but Cleck kept their shape.
With time running out Durham made a last push into Cleckheaton’s 22 but Worsley turned over the ball in a tackle.
Craig Blackburn and Gordon combined well, passing a between themselves, before Blackburn was released down the touchline to complete a 70 metre move for the try. Gordon added the extras with the last play of the game.
n Cleckheaton Kestrels earned an impressive 50-7 victory at home to York seconds last Saturday, while the Moorenders’ fourth team overcame Huddersfield YMCA fourths 22-7.
n Darren Ali-Scott showed tremendous footwork to score a dramatic late try which saw Cleckheaton Under-13s secure a thrilling 32-31 victory away to Keighley.
Drew Judge-Clark scored a hat-trick of tries and Joe Tilby-Baxter crossed for a brace, while Dominic Howarth landed one conversion, but it appeared like Cleckheaton would be edged out until Ali-Scott’s late match winning try.
James Wilson was MoM.