Cleckheaton aim to shake things up

CLECKHEATON will be hoping to have a stronger side on duty as they prepare to welcome North One East play-off chasers Middlesbrough to Moorend tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Joe Goiti and Johnno Marshall were sidelined with knocks for last week’s trip to high-flying Percy Park.

Ollie Depledge and Ed Chappelow were also ruled out as they are waiting to see specialists, while Grant Turton, Lee Queeley and Tom Crewe were all unavailable.

When Ryan Piercy was also forced to withdraw due to continuing problems with his knee, Cleckheaton handed a recall to back-row or full-back Tom Brooke, who had not started a first team game since having a shoulder reconstruction last summer.

The Moorenders may have been without eight key players but they pushed Percy Park for much of the game before three late tries saw the home side run out 45-12 winners.

Cleck will hope some of the players unavailable last week will return tomorrow as they aim to shake things up against some of the play-off contenders.

Promoted Billingham need just two points from their final three games to clinch the North One East title but behind them a fierce battle for second place is hotting up between three teams.

Wheatley Hills are second, three points clear of Middlesbrough, who can ill afford a slip up at Moorend, while Percy Park are a further point behind but they have a game in hand on the three sides above them.

Cleckheaton lie ninth in the table but victory tomorrow could see them climb two places as they are just a point behind Durham City and Northern.

The Moorenders received some good news this week as first team prop Andy Piper underwent his operation on three slipped discs, which proved a success.

Although it is still early days, the current prognosis is that Piper could be back in a Cleckheaton shirt for the start of next season.

Richard Piper is still in the hunt to become the division’s top try scorer.

He was not on the scoresheet last weekend and slipped one try behind Billingham’s prolific scorer Peter Evans going into the final three matches.

Ross Hayden was on the end of a fine flowing move to cross for his 17th try of the campaign at Percy Park but he is five behind Piper and it may prove too big a gap to make up in the run in.

Cleckheaton take a break from the action next weekend due to Easter but return on April 14 with a trip to bottom side Team Northumbria, who were relegated some weeks ago, before ending the season at home to Malton and Norton on April 21.

n Members of Cleckheaton’s junior section took part in a Sport Relief Mile event last Sunday when they ran round the main pitch at Moorend four times to raise money for charity.