Cleckheaton move out of relegation zone after win

Cleckheaton's Jack Bickerdike looks for a gap in the Hull defence with Richard Piper in support during last Saturday's National League Three North clash. Picture: Gerald Christian.
Cleckheaton's Jack Bickerdike looks for a gap in the Hull defence with Richard Piper in support during last Saturday's National League Three North clash. Picture: Gerald Christian.
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Cleckheaton moved out of the National Three North relegation zone thanks to a hard-fought 16-5 victory over Hull at wintry Moorend.

An excellent team performance kept the visitors, who were lying fourth in the table before this match, scoreless until five minutes from full time.

On a day that didn’t suit expansive play, Cleckheaton played to their strengths and kept the ball tight in the forwards while making very few errors.

Hull became frustrated with lack of possession and the opposition conceded more penalties than Cleckheaton for probably the first time this season.

The first half saw Cleck make plenty of headway but they could not get through Hull’s solid, goal line defence.

Richard Piper went close but was held up on the line before Ronan Evans kicked a 30th minute penalty goal.

Cleckheaton were dealt a blow when back-rower, Jack Seddon, who has had an excellent season so far, had to leave the field with a hamstring injury. However Danny Graham came on to replace him and had a fine game.

With the snow and hailstones falling and the wind at Cleckheaton’s back, the home team started the second half with an onslaught on Hull’s line.

After the pack had driven into Hull’s defence half a dozen times and were running out of bodies at the back of the ruck, centre Matt Piper, picked up and forced his way over from close range. The conversion was narrowly missed.

Cleckheaton continued to dominate play and Hull were finding it hard to get out of their half.

With an hour played, the referee held his arm out signalling penalty advantage to Cleckheaton, 10 metres from Hull’s line.

Michael Piper seized the opportunity to try a speculative little chip into the in-goal area and Mark Barlow was the quickest to react, scoring Cleckheaton’s second try.

Again the conversion was missed but Evans extended Cleck’s lead to 16-0 five minutes later with a well struck penalty goal from 45 metres.

Cleckheaton let their concentration slip following a Hull line out, when they appealed for a penalty but the visitors played to the whistle and moved play to winger Lee Birch, who went in for an unconverted try.

With only minutes left Hull tried to mount an unlikely comeback and started to throw the ball out wide.

An excellent cover tackle from Jack Bickerdike put paid to that, in front of a stand packed with happy supporters.

Cleckheaton’s pack put in a very solid display with Austin, Chivers, Crowther, Graham, Pearson, Piercy, Andy and Richard Piper, Seddon, Thrower and Turner capable of taking the game to anyone in this league.