Cleckheaton unable to build after bright start at Wirral

Cleckheaton's James Wilson runs into the Wirral defence during Saturday's National Three North clash. 'Picture: Gerald Christian
Cleckheaton's James Wilson runs into the Wirral defence during Saturday's National Three North clash. 'Picture: Gerald Christian

Cleckheaton were unable to build on a promising start as they slipped to a 36-8 defeat at Wirral and remain in the Na tional League Three drop zone.

The Moorenders built up an early 8-0 lead but Wirral, unbeaten at home this season, clicked into gear when they had the advantage of a strong wind after the break.

Cleckheaton almost scored after 10 minutes but a last minute tackle by Ali Baker prevented the try. From the next play the ball was moved out wide and Mike Haywood scored in the corner.

Cleckheaton then turned over possession following a Wirral attack and broke downfield, where they were awarded a penalty, which Ronan Evans converted.

Wirral hit back with a Joe Murray unconverted try but Cleckheaton were using the wind to their advantage to make good ground.

Cleckheaton went close to extending their lead following a good move before they were dealt a blow when Wirral broke and Ryan Piercy was judged to have deliberately knocked on and was sin-binned.

Excellent defence thwarted Wirral’s attack and the visitors led 8-5 at the break.

Wirral started the second half in determined mood and pressure told when Chris Speed scored between the posts. Dan Harvey converted.

The Cleckheaton forwards tried to take control but a decisive substitution saw James Reeve introduced and with his first touch, gathered Harvey’s pass to side step the full-back and score between the posts. Harvey converted.

Three minutes later, Wirral scored their fourth try when Mark Williams kicked over the defence and hacked the ball on for Rob Pearl to gather and touch down.

Cleckheaton tried to hit back but an attack broke down and Pearl gathered before feeding Ali Baker to outpace the defence and score. Harvey converted.

A neat passing move ended with Tom Parry sending Mark Williams over and despite late Cleckheaton pressure, Wirral’s defence stood firm to deny them further points.