Cleckheaton bounce back to go clear at the summit

rob afoa-peterson was sin-binned in the first half but it failed to stop Cleckheaton's pack from dominating their opponents. Picture: Andy May
rob afoa-peterson was sin-binned in the first half but it failed to stop Cleckheaton's pack from dominating their opponents. Picture: Andy May
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Cleckheaton 24

Pocklington 6

Cleckheaton hit the top of North 1 East with a terrific 24-6 success over fellow high fliers Pocklington.

Following last week’s loss to Huddersfield YMCA, their first of the season, Cleckheaton returned to winning ways in great style and prevented a dangerous Pocklington side from crossing the whitewash.

The blustery conditions at Moorend put paid to an open flowing game of rugby but the hosts’ defence were in control for long periods, despite falling behind to the opening score of the game.

The visitors, coached by former Cleckheaton lock Richard Wilson, broke the deadlock with a penalty on five minutes.

It wasn’t long before the hosts responded however and good runs from Matt Piper and James Wilson put them deep in Pocklington territory and within sight of the line.

Mounting pressure resulted in a line-out and the pack laid the foundations for Richard Piper to cross the whitewash.

Rob Afoa-Peterson was sin binned on the 20 minute mark and even though the hosts returned to full strength without conceding, Sam Askam put Pocklington 6-5 ahead at the break with his second penalty.

Cleckheaton had the wind at their backs in the second half but they were frustrated by handing errors in the third quarter.

However, they finally broke through when Ross Hayden touched-down and converted to give Cleckheaton a 12-6 lead.

Pocklington tried to hit back only to be met by a stern defence and after good work in the pack Ryan Piercy scored and Hayden converted.

Cleckheaton rounded off a convincing display with a bonus point try.

Jack Bickerdike was held up a few feet short but Cleck’s forwards set-up another rolling maul and Andy Piper grounded as the pack crossed the whitewash.

The conversion drifted wide but Cleckheaton held firm in the final five minutes to cruise to victory.