CLECKHEATON produced a sterling effort to take Wednesday’s Yorkshire Cup semi-final against National Two side Hull to extra-time.
However, their superb efforts, having fought back from 17-0 down, proved in vain as Hull scored 20-unanswered points as the gloom descended on Humberside.
Hull shot into a 17-0 lead after 34 minutes but the visitors hit back with tries from Ollie Depledge and Rich Piperm together with an Iain Gordon conversion to make it 17-12 at half-time and Piper’s second levelled matters after 55 minutes.
Hull and Gordon exchanged penalties as the tie ended 20-20 after 80 minutes but despite the dark, extra-time was insisted on and the home side went on to score two further converted tries and two penalties for a final score which did not reflect the effort the Moorenders put in by the West Riding side.
Hull will now play either Huddersfield or Wharfedale in the final.
Team Northumbria 10
Two tries in the first five minutes of the match, effectively won this North One East game at Moorend last Saturday for the confident Cleckheaton side, who have now won four successive games.
Centre Jonno Marshall burst through and passed to Ross Hayden, who produced three side-steps before racing clear to outstrip the defence to score a contender for try of the season. Iain Gordon converted and the home side were ahead before many of the revellers at the pre-match function had taken up their vantage point.
The second try two minutes later was a team effort. Pete Murphy broke before the ball was moved through several pairs of hands and once more leading try scorer Hayden was on hand to cross, with Gordon converting.
Captain Paul Turner and back rowers Ryan Piercy and Richard Piper led a destructive defensive effort, while Gordon, Murphy and Marshall controlled all aspects of play and only stout defending prevented further tries.
It wasn’t until the 37th minute that Cleck extended their lead with a try by Martin Woodhead following excellent support play.
On the stroke of half-time Northumbria were given hope when back row Rob Kinnell scored and Porter goaled.
The second half was dominated territorially by Northumbria but they lacked the penetration of Cleckheaton and only had a Porter penalty to show for their efforts.
Coach David Harrison rang the changes, with experienced Mark Sargeant coming on for hard-working youngster Matt Beasty, Gareth Lamb took over from centre Marshall and Chris Piper replaced brother Andy in the front row.
Fresh legs on a hot afternoon led to further tries from Woodhead and Richard Piper, together with a conversion and a penalty from Gordon, as Cleckheaton secured a fourth successive bonus point win opens the gap between themselves and fourth-placed Wheatly Hills to seven points and serves as a big confidence boost for the run-in.