Cleckheaton produce determined performance in loss to champions

Cleckheatons Matt Piper makes a break with Mark Chivers in support during last Saturdays encounter against newly crowned National League Three North champions Huddersfield.
Cleckheatons Matt Piper makes a break with Mark Chivers in support during last Saturdays encounter against newly crowned National League Three North champions Huddersfield.

Cleckheaton produced a brave effort but ultimately came away pointless from their trip to newly crowned National League Three North champions Huddersfield last Saturday.

Cleckheaton were without several players through injury for the trip to Lockwood Park and although they tried valiantly were unable to prevent a 47-14 defeat as Huddersfield extended their winning run to 24 straight matches.

Ed Curley made the trip from Worcester, where he is now studying, specifically for the game, while Carl Mason was called out of retirement to don his boots once again for first team action.

Cleckheaton started brightly and earned territorial advantage in the opening exchanges.

Throughout most of the game Cleck provided a robust and competitive challenge in the tight areas of play but the table toppers, undefeated since dropping down from the league above in September, possessed a greater capability to break out of their own half and turn defence in attack, with quick flowing, well supported rugby.

The home side have scored over 1,100 points this season and picked up another seven with a trademark break up field.

From a set piece penalty, Malthouse scored a try which Chris Bell converted.

Cleckheaton showed commitment and tried to front up to their opponents but fast hands led to Knight scoring at the corner for Huddersfield.

The home side’s advantage was increased when Malthouse went in for his second try and Chris Bell added his third conversion for a 21-0 lead.

Cleckheaton replied with a period of sustained pressure on Huddersfield’s line, which saw the leaders concede a number of penalties in a bid to keep them out.

Eventually referee Davies, lost his patience and Joel Hinchcliffe was sin-binned.

Cleck opted for the scrum and a quick lift from Jack Bickerdike followed by a run around move from Ronan Evans and Matt Piper, set up Josh Hall to score and Evans converted.

Late in the first half, Huddersfield went in for their bonus point try, which also guaranteed they would be crowned league champions at end of the match.

Despite Cleckheaton’s continued efforts, including a stand out tackle from Luke Pearson, Hudderfield scored three more tries through Rhodes, Morrill and Conway.

Bell converted two and with less than 10 minutes left to play it would have been easy for Cleckheaton to capitulate but instead they worked their way up field and James Wilson, carrying a broken rib as later turned out, dived over for a consolation try which Evans converted.