Cleck close in on lead bunch

Richard Piper

Richard Piper

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CLECKHEATON will be aiming to build on their impressive start to the new year when they travel to Morpeth tomorrow in North One East (kick off 2.15pm).

The Moorenders kick started 2013 with an impressive 24-17 derby success over Old Crossleyans — maintaining their 100 per cent record against their West Yorkshire rivals this season.

The win saw Cleck close the gap on fifth placed Crossleyans to just a point, although both are some way off Wheatley Hills, Morley, Sheffield and leaders Beverley, who now appear to be running away with the title.

Cleckheaton are bang in-form for what will be a pivotal month in their season, with scrum half Jack Bickerdike settling into his role after joining at the start of the campaign.

Bickerdike followed up his man-of-the-match display in the Boxing Day win over old Brods by scoring a superb 50 metre solo try against Crossleyans last week and he is now forming a solid partnership with fly-half Iain Gordon.

Rich Piper maintained his excellent scoring record and his brace against the Crocs took his league tally for the season to 14 — level with Gordon Jalencic of Beverley and Gareth Burns (Wheatley Hill).

Gordon landed all three conversions and a penalty in Cleck’s latest win and he now needs just two more for 100 points in the league this time.

Tomorrow’s clash at Morpeth begins and an important run for Dave Harrison’s men as they entertain Pocklington on January 19 and then travel to Malton and Norton on January 26 before welcoming leaders Beverley to Moorend for what should be a cracking game on February 9.

Cleckheaton Selected sides

1st XV at Morpeth, kick off 2.15pm, meet 9.30am: R Hayden, M Woodhead, James Marshall, M Piper, J Wilson, I Gordon, J Bickerdike, P Turner, S Worsley, C Piper, R Piercy, D Nolan, R Piper, R Bennett, O Akroyd. Replacements: N Thrower, J White, C Blackburn.

Kestrels v Wharfedale 3rd XV, kick off 2.15pm, meet 1pm: T Brooke, P Horrigan, T Crewe, G Lamb, L Bashforth, J Toulson, M Fletcher, A Piper, R Motlib, L Goldthorpe, M Beasty, C Mason, N Salama, J Seddon, N Clayton. Replacements: M Sergeant, D Graham, N Holland, L Haigh, A Stanley, C Brannan.

3rd XV at Halifax, kick off 2.15pm, meet 12.45pm: H Bairstow, C Davis, A Edwards, S Smith, A McCarthy, G Speight, L Beasty, A Lowe, A Porritt, M Hadfield, M Womersley, L Ashley, J Close, R Simpson, M Wood. Replacements: J Porritt, J Duggan, J Ward, C Wilson, J Summers.

4th XV v Castleford, kick off 2.15pm, meet 1.30pm: B Womersley, A Brown, N Lazenby, M Nicholson, A Ellis, J Perks, R Noble, M Blakely, D McGuigan, D Howe, J Womersley, I Webb, R Brown, C Aspinall, D Webb. Replacements: A Tilby-Baxter, A Bailey, B Thornton, A Clough.