Cleckheaton look to build on victory

Front rower Paul Turner produced a man-of-the-match performance as Cleckheaton defeated Billingham last Saturday.
Front rower Paul Turner produced a man-of-the-match performance as Cleckheaton defeated Billingham last Saturday.

Cleckheaton will hope last Saturday’s terrific victory at high-flying Billingham will prove a turning point to their National League Three North campaign.

Cleckheaton ended a six-match losing run as they fought back from 7-0 down to record a 27-7 victory and become only the second team in 12 months to inflict a home defeat on Billingham.

In contrast to the previous week’s 25-15 defeat at home to Kendal, Scott Benton’s side executed the game plan to the letter and reaped the rewards with an away win at a side who were lying third in the table.

Last Saturday’s performance demonstrated Cleck have the capability to compete with and beat any side in the league, if they stick to the game plan and play with patience.

They will now look to build on that display when Hull visit Moorend on Saturday (ko 2.15pm).

Cleckheaton were forced to play up hill and against a fierce wind in the first half at Billingham but a superb forwards performance provided the platform for a terrific win.

Paul Turner led the way with a man-of-the-match display, with support from fellow front rowers Mark Chivers and Andy Piper, Ryan Piercy and Luke Pearson and the back row trio of Tom Austin, Jack Seddon and Richard Piper

Benton’s decision to substitute stand off Ronan Evans early in the first half and play with two scrum-halfs when against the elements also proved a masterstroke.

Having mastered the elements and the majority of Billingham’s best attacks, the Moorenders went into half-time level at 7-7 before dominating after the break.

Second half tries from 20-year-old forward Pearson and back rower Seddon, together with two conversions and a penalty by Evans and a Neil Chivers drop goal secure the win.

Victory in the North East was not enough to lift Cleckheaton from 11th place but they have closed the gap on Doncaster to two points and are now seven clear of third-bottom Morley.

Hull are themselves in a rich vein of form having won their last three matches, including last week’s 26-5 win over Morley.

Hull have also shown their ability to win away from home, having recorded three victories from five games on the road but Cleck will look to build momentum ahead of next week’s trip to second-bottom Firwood Waterloo.