Cleckheaton’s title charge shows no signs of stopping

Leading scorer: Ross Hayden scored a try and kicked six goals in Cleckheaton's comprehensive victory over Sheffield which keeps them clear at the top of North One East.
Leading scorer: Ross Hayden scored a try and kicked six goals in Cleckheaton's comprehensive victory over Sheffield which keeps them clear at the top of North One East.

Cleckheaton’s charge towards the North One East league title continues as they cruised to a 52-5 victory over Sheffield last Saturday.

It was the Moorenders’ ninth straight league win as they maintained a 14-point lead over Huddersfield YMCA at the top of the table.

Despite the inclement weather over the last few weeks, Moorend was in good condition for this clash between two teams who have experienced contrasting fortunes over the season to date.

Cleck’s confidence is sky high and the players look comfortable with a game plan which is both expansive and powerful and a pattern which draws on the particular strengths of the team.

The early signs were clear for all to see. Cleckheaton were up for the challenge and were not going to let Sheffield settle into a pattern.

In the sixth minute the home pack set up their renowned driving maul from a line out and Richard Piper was in the driving seat to be awarded the first try.

Ross Hayden missed the conversion but was successful 10 minutes later when he converted a try from Matt Piper. The home side continued to press but a loose pass was intercepted by Sheffield captain Tom Womack, who sprinted 65 metres to the line for an opportunist try.

It took Cleckheaton only three minutes to hit back when Michael Piper gave a disguised pass to Matt Piper who sucked in the visitors’ defence before feeding the supporting Hayden, who scorched to the line for a beautiful try, which he converted.

Two further tries from Richard Piper and James Wilson before half-ime, one of which was converted by Hayden, put the home side in the ascendancy at the break.

Five minutes into the second half Richard Piper completed his second successive hat-trick, following a bout of passing involving forwards and backs.

Hayden converted and he also added the extras to a Martin Woodhead try on the hour mark.

Sheffield were always competitive and never gave up but their opponents were playing at the top of their game and Cleckheaton’s superiority was emphasised by a late try for the ever alert James Wilson.

The league’s leading points scorer Hayden added the conversion to end with a personal tally of 17 points to complete the Moorenders’ rout.