Cleckheaton seal dramatic victory over Driffield

Cleckheaton captain Matt Piper beats the last Driffield defender to score the last-gasp try which helped them clinch victory. Picture: Gerald Christian
Cleckheaton captain Matt Piper beats the last Driffield defender to score the last-gasp try which helped them clinch victory. Picture: Gerald Christian

Cleckheaton won a thrilling North One East game away to Driffield as a last gasp injury time try by captain Matt Piper, converted by man-of-the-match Mike Swetman, saw them run out 38-36 victors.

The lead switched hands throughout the 80 minutes but Cleckheaton showed a self belief as they responded with plenty of purpose to a 75th minute Driffield try.

Cleckheaton led after five minutes when they were awarded a penalty and Jack Seddon took a quick tap to go over. Swetman converted but Driffield levelled when Cleck lost a scrum against the head and Gray scored.

Ben Thrower was sin-binned and Driffield scored a converted try only for a Swetman penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-10.

Cleckheaton were attacking the Driffield line but turned the ball over and winger Dinsdale collected a short pass and raced up the touchline for a long range try to put the home side nine points ahead.

In first half injury time, the home team were reduced to 14 men and scrum-half James Wilson moved play wide, with Brad Marsden forcing his way over.

Swetman, immaculate with the boot all day, again obliged with the conversion, bringing Cleck back to 19-17.

Cleckheaton scored a champagne try two minutes after the re-start as Seddon picked up from the back of a ruck and chipped over the defence, catching it after a perfect bounce and raced between the posts to give Cleckheaton the lead.

Seddon, who was Driffield’s choice for Cleck’s man-of-the-match, then broke from his own 22 and fed Swetman and he put Ronan Evans over for a long range try to stretch the lead to 31-19.

Driffield scored two quickfire tries to level and when Cleck spilled the ball, the home side added a sixth try to lead 36-31 with two minutes to play.

Cleckheaton showed great belief and when Driffield conceded a penalty on the halfway line with just seconds left, Swetman put the ball in touch just a few metres from Driffield’s line.

After a great set piece and drive by the entire pack, Matt Piper ran up the touchline and in field to make the conversion angle a little narrower but with the scores level at 36-36, it would still take an excellent kick to seal victory.

Swetman stepped up and calmly slotted the ball through the uprights to the great delight of his teammates and Cleckheaton supporters.

Cleckheaton now go in search of a fourth straight win when they welcome West Leeds to Moorend for a tasty derby clash on Saturday (ko 3pm).

Mikey Hayward returns to the starting 15 having missed last week’s thrilling win over Driffield, while there is a place on the bench for Lewis Beasty but Alex Garden again misses out with a knock.

Josh Clough is on the bench having made his first team debut against Driffield.

Like Cleck, West Leeds have also won three of their opening four games and are just a point above the Moorenders in third place going into the derby.

Penrith continue to lead the way with a 100 per cent record, while Morpeth are second, a points above West Leeds and two ahead of Cleckheaton.

Selected Sides

1stXV v West Leeds, ko 3pm, meet 1.30pm: James Wilson, Cain Crotty, Mike Swetman, Matt Piper, Mike Hayward, Ronan Evans, Jack Bickerdike, Paul Turner, Ben Thrower, Andy Piper, Luke Pearson, Ryan Piercy, Brad Marsden, Josh Plunkett-White, Jack Seddon. Replacements: Josh Clough, Niall Jackson, Lewis Beasty.

Kestrels at Morley, ko 3pm, meet 1.15pm: Craig Blackburn, Brad McPitt, George Speight, Lee Williams, Kerian Baldry, Sam Womersley, Robin Bennett, Will Denham, Ollie Clark, Joe Roberts, Steve Noble, Matt Wood, Rob Lowe, Tom Austin, Ben Etchells. Replacements: Max Blakely, Alfie Green, Jake Jagger.

3rdXV v Baildon, ko 3pm, meet 2pm: Jake Grimsdale, Nick Wagstaff, Ben Green, Antony Hobson, Alex Bailey, Callum Green, Bob Thornton, Danny Howe, Andy Porritt, Andy Womersley, Lyndon Ashley, Miles Nicholson, Adam Clough, Danny McGuigan, Josh Womersley. Replacements: Phil Manny, Andy Brown, Matthew Blackall, Ian Webb.