West Hartlepool 17
Cleckheaton are the only side in North One East still unbeaten following Saturday’s 32-17 success at home to West Hartlepool.
The hosts saw off the challenge of a dangerous Wests side and with Pocklington losing to Rochdale, Cleckheaton are now level on points at the top of the table with a game in hand.
In the week in which he celebrated the birth of his second son, Richard Piper marked the occasion by running in a hat-trick to help the Moorenders extend their perfect start to the campaign.
Cleckheaton’s forwards started the match in determined fashion taking the play to West Hartlepool and testing their defence.
That momentum paid off with Piper’s first score of the game with only five minutes played.
It wasn’t long before he was crossing the whitewash again, directing the home pack from a line-out deep in Wests’ territory, Piper crashed over for a score converted by Ross Hayden.
The visitors replied with a good spell of their own and when Chris Piper was sent to the sin bin, Cleckheaton were punished with an inside pass that put Pete Youll over the line.
The home side were reduced to 13 men for six minutes, Alex Dawson seeing yellow for tackling the visitors’ ball catcher in the air, but Cleckheaton repelled the visitors’ attacks to protect their 12-5 advantage going into the interval.
Restored to full strength in the second period, Cleckheaton got back on track and Piper powered over from a rolling maul to complete his hat-trick, Hayden again adding the goal.
Piper then turned provider as he fed Jack Bickerdike who outpaced the visiting defence to score the bonus point try and Hayden converted.
Hayden was on target again soon after when he extended the lead with a penalty.
The hosts took their foot off the gas in the closing stages and allowed Wests to boost their tally with two touch-downs from Adam Coates and Andrew Turner.
Hayden ensured that Cleckheaton had the final say however, kicking a penalty on the stroke of full-time.