Magnificent Cleckheaton extend impressive record

Ross Hayden slides over for Cleckheaton's match winning try to cap a terrific performance away to Rossendale. Picture: Gerald Christian
Ross Hayden slides over for Cleckheaton's match winning try to cap a terrific performance away to Rossendale. Picture: Gerald Christian

Cleckheaton produced a magnificent away performance to earn a bonus point victory after overcoming Rossendale 22-20 last Saturday.

This was Cleckheaton’s ninth win in their last 10 outings as the Moorenders have moved up to fifth in National League Three North.

A late revival from Rossendale, in gale force conditions, looked to have denied Cleck but tremendous team spirit and collective desire got them into position to score a winning try.

Rossendale have a proud home record, with Sale the only visiting team to claim victory way back in September.

The sloping pitch and viciously cold wind offered a daunting prospect but Cleckheaton, playing down the hill in the first half, enjoyed territorial advantage.

A quick pass from Jack Bickerdike to Mike Piper, found Martin Woodhead in space and though initially held short, Woodhead clung on to the ball and his teammates drove him over the line for a try. Ross Hayden’s conversion attempt fell victim to the wind.

Rossendale hit back for an equalising score but Cleckheaton’s forwards built pressure and Matt Piper threw the ball wide to Lee Queeley, who charged to the line and had the strength to carry them both over the line for the try. Hayden judged the wind correctly and put Cleckheaton 12-5 in front.

With the last play of the half Steve Nutt slotted a penalty to reduce the arrears.

A catch and drive from Cleckheaton gathered momentum and just as the home side thought they were stopping the push, Josh White broke off to the right to score.

At 17-8 Cleckheaton looked to be in command and the visitors’ formidable defence kept Rossendale at bay.

A misfield gave the home side a scrum in a dangerous position close to Cleck’s line.

Rossendale tried to push over and Cleckheaton were adjudged to have stopped them illegally, leading to a penalty try, which was converted.

Cleckheaton spilled possession and Rossendale pounced on it. Despite the efforts of Queeley, Wilson and Hayden chasing down the home side’s flying wingman, they could not haul him in before he crossed the line for a near length of the field try.

Cleckheaton were suddenly 20-17 down but were not in the mood to concede and attacked with vigour.

Mike Piper chipped to the corner for Hayden to gather and score Cleckheaton’s bonus point try.

Rossendale tried to keep the ball alive in injury time but a knock-on after around 20 phases brought the game to close as Cleckheaton celebrated a bonus point win.