Cleckheaton’s key battle at Waterloo

Cleckheatons Neil Cherryholme looks to drive his side into Hull territory during Saturdays National League Three North clash.
Cleckheatons Neil Cherryholme looks to drive his side into Hull territory during Saturdays National League Three North clash.

Cleckheaton face a crucial trip to Firwood Waterloo on Saturday (2.15pm) as they bid to move clear of the National League Three relegation zone.

Waterloo were in deep trouble a fortnight ago but victory over basement side Stockport was followed last week when they came from behind to defeat Morley 30-25.

That result lifted the west coast side above Morley into third-bottom and with Cleckheaton slipping to defeat against Hull, Firwood are now within five points of the Moorenders.

Cleckheaton played well in patches against a strong Humberside outfit but despite piling on the pressure late on, they were unable to prevent a 24-15 defeat.

Cleckheaton can be proud of the way that they never gave in and worked hard until the end, gaining the ascendency as the clock ran down.

Cleck were ultimately left to rue the lapse in concentration midway through the first half, which saw them concede 14 points. Hull’s full-back carved the home side open down the middle to score before an interception try from the visiting second row, who was alert to claim a pass and nip over.

Richatrd Piper and Neil Chivers led the Cleckheaton fightback with second half tries, while Ronan Evans landed a conversion to go with his first half penalty.

Evans almost snatched a deserved bonus point for Scott Benton’s men but his conversion attempt, to Chivers’ injury time try, drifted wide.

The Moorenders will look to put that result behind them and recapture the form that saw them record a terrific 27-7 victory away to high flying Billingham the previous week.

Cleckheaton must not underestimate a Waterloo side who will have renewed confidence following back-to-back victories and know a third straight win will boost their chances of moving out of the relegation zone.

A win on the road would increase Cleckheaton’s safety margin and boost their own morale ahead of a derby clash against unbeaten leaders Huddersfield the following week.

Cleckheaton will face the three sides below them in their next five matches as they enter a crucial spell in the campaign.

Pointless Stockport visit Moorend on December 10 before there is a pre-Christmas derby cracker away to Morley on December 17.