Cleckheaton look to end losing run

Cleckheaton attempt to launch an attack during Saturdays match against Kendal.
Cleckheaton attempt to launch an attack during Saturdays match against Kendal.

Cleckheaton will be bidding to halt a six-match losing run on Saturday when they visit Teesside for a clash with National League Three North high fliers Billingham.

The Durham outfit have made a roaring start to the campaign with six wins from eight matches and they lie just six points behind leaders Huddersfield.

Billingham’s fine run looks even more impressive as they have only played three home matches so far and are yet to taste defeat at Greenwood Road.

In contrast, five of Cleckheaton’s fixtures have been at Moorend, although they have managed to record a win on the road, all be it a 62-0 thrashing at pointless Stockport.

Cleckheaton played well in patches against Kendal last Saturday and fought back from 10-0 down early on to lead 15-10 at half-time.

However, they were unable to kick on after the break and a host of handling errors and poor decision making with the boot, allowed the Cumbrians to fight back and inflict a sixth straight defeat on Cleck.

There has been a time of reflection and regrouping for the squad and Cleckheaton’s league position of 11th place does not reflect the capability of the side. In the last few games they have, perhaps, been guilty of forcing plays in an attempt to score points, while also throwing the ball about in their own third of the pitch and kicking good possession away in attacking areas.

In many cases these decisions have played into the hands of the opposition and apart from Morley, all games at Moorend this year have ended in narrow defeats.

Cleckheaton still have to play all these teams again and with a little patience, self belief and a focus on sticking to the game plan, away wins in the reverse are all within easy grasp.

Although Scott Benton’s men will be underdogs for Saturday’s trip to Billingham, a much needed victory would certainly provide a confidence boost ahead of important games against Hull, fellow strugglers Firwood Waterloo and leaders Huddersfield before the end of November.

Cleckheaton are three points ahead of third-bottom Morley, while the Firwood Waterloo game on November 19 offers an excellent chance of points against a side who have lost all eight games so far.

Cleckheaton Kestrels saw a five-match winning run come to an end last Saturday when they suffered a 33-14 defeat at home to York Seconds as they slipped to third in the Yorkshire Merit League Premiership.