Cleckheaton took their excellent pre-season form into their first North One East game as they defeated Malton & Norton 31-23 last Saturday.
It was a tense encounter at times but Cleckheaton retained their composure and came away with a win and a try scoring bonus point.
James Wilson scored after just five minutes as he was on the end of a fine looping pass from Michael Piper following Lee Queeley’s fine break.
Paul Turner rampaged over for a try, which Ross Hayden as Cleck took a 12-0 lead but Malton replied with two Ramsey penalties.
Wilson opened Malton’s defence and sent Queeley diving over and Hayden’s goal out Cleck 19-6 up at half-time.
Malton kicked another penalty but Michael Piper linked with James Marshall to put Wilson in for his second to secure a bonus point.
Malton replied superbly and two converted tries in quick succession brought them back to within a point.
Malton could have taken the lead but fortunately for Cleckheaton another penalty attempt drifted wide.
Cleckheaton regained their composure and a kick to the corner gave Malton a line-out, which Ollie Akroyd stole.
Rob Afoa Peterson drove towards the line and allowed man-of-the-match Queeley to weave over between the pots, with Hayden’s goal completing a fine opening day win.
Malton spurned the chance to kick a late penalty which would have given them a losing bonus point and excellent tackling from Queeley prevented the home side getting over the line.
It was double joy for Cleckheaton as the Kestrels also sealed a bonus point win against Malton & Norton seconds in the Yorkshire Merit Premiership at Moorend.
Tries from Horrigan, Fletcher, Crowther, Motlib and Brown eased Cleckheaton to a 48-12 win.