Cleckheaton win but play-off hopes end

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Cleckheaton secured a 17-5 victory over Keighley last Saturday but their North One East play-off hopes were ended after Morley’s win at Wheatley Hills.

Cleck will go into tomorrow’s final league came at home to Hills aiming for a third place finish, which would give a glossy finish to a wonderful second half of the season.

Keighley, requiring a bonus point win to avoid a return to Yorkshire One, scored first through a Steve Walker try.

Cleckheaton replied with a penalty from Iain Gordon and with skipper Richard Piper in the sin bin they took the lead with a well worked try from the game’s best player full back Ross Hayden. Gordon converted and the visitors were in control at half-time.

Keighley increased the pressure and pounded the Cleckheaton line but the defence remained solid.

Cleck’s pack regrouped and gained field position. A series of powerful drives culminated in lock Ryan Piercy diving over for the decisive score which Gordon converted.

Cleckheaton’s pack have been a dominant force this season and have imposed themselves on the game, making ground by building phases patiently while retaining possession and they are one of the best at squeezing the life out of the opposition.

A feisty and often bad tempered encounter was ultimately decided by Cleck’s better composure with the ball and a towering defensive effort.

Weekend sides (ko 3pm)

1stXV v Wheatley Hills, meet 1.30pm: R Hayden, J Wilson, C Blackburn, M Piper, M Woodhead, I Gordon, J Bickerdike, P Turner, S Worsley, A Piper, R Piercy, G Turton, N Salama, O Akroyd, R Piper. Reps: B Thrower, M Sergeant, G Lamb.

Kestrels at Halifax Vandals, meet 1.15pm: T Brook, A Stanley, J Marshall, T Crewe, P Horrigan, J Toulson, M Fletcher, C Piper, L Haigh, L Goldthorpe, M Beasty, C Mason, C Brannan, J White, D Graham. Reps: N Clayton, L Bashforth, H Bairstow, R Bennett, L Beasty.

3rdV v TBA, meet 1.30pm: A McCarthy, C Davis, A Edwards, S Smith, C Wilson, J Duggan, R Noble, A Porritt, B Depledge, A Lowe, M Womersley, M Wood, R Motlib, J Sheridan, R Simpson. Rep: M Howard,