Cleckheaton show desire in defeat at high flying Hull

Cleckheaton forward Ryan Piercy drove over for a first half try as the Moorenders picked up a crucial bonus point in their National League Three North defeat at Hull last Saturday
Cleckheaton forward Ryan Piercy drove over for a first half try as the Moorenders picked up a crucial bonus point in their National League Three North defeat at Hull last Saturday

Cleckheaton showed the heart and desire required for a relegation battle when they picked up a bonus point from a 42-22 defeat to Hull in National League Three North last Saturday.

Cleckheaton’s pack put in a very determined performance at the Ferrens ground and they earned early reward.

Lock Ryan Piercy and hooker Mark Chivers drove over for first half tries, which were punctuated by replies from Hull through Mike Jobling and a long range effort from the pacey Steve Hieheta.

Ronan Evans and Lee Birch landed a conversion apiece as the match was level 12-12 after 35 minutes.

With Cleckheaton captain Richard Piper in the sin-bin, Birch added another try for Hull.

He missed the conversion but was successful with a penalty goal on the half-time whistle, to give Hull a 20-12 lead at the interval.

Cleckheaton applied pressure at the start of the second half but a break followed by a penalty gave Hull a line out close to Cleckheaton’s line.

A practiced drill was well executed and Hull captain Tom Price dived over for an unconverted try.

Cleckheaton responded when Evans, back in his role at stand-off, threw a long pass from centre field to right winger Josh Hall, who drew a defender and popped the ball back inside for centre Neil Chivers to score at the corner.

The game was evenly poised at 25-17 and Cleckheaton were attacking when Hull turned over the ball and went almost the length of the field before the attacker was bundled into touch five metres short.

Cleckheaton’s line-out had been excellent throughout the game but an unfortunate fumble gifted Hull’s Colin Quigley a simple try.

Harvey Harding went in for Hull’s sixth try to put the game beyond Cleckheaton’s reach at 35-17 with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Cleckheaton kept working and their efforts were rewarded when Richard Piper went in for the visitors fourth and potentially very valuable bonus point try after 76 minutes.

Scrum-half Jack Bickerdike tapped a penalty just inside his own half and Cleckheaton rumbled forward in search of another try.

However, Hull regained possession and Lee Birch stepped his way over for his second try to give the final scoreline a flattering look.

Cleckheaton are not in action this weekend as the Six Nations reaches its climax but return with a crucial home game against Firwood Waterloo on March 25.

The clash against second-bottom Waterloo is a vital game for both sides.

Waterloo are much improved from earlier in the season but they know defeat to Cleckheaton will all but consign them to a bottom three finish.

Victory for Cleck can open up a six point lead on third-bottom Doncaster Phoenix with three games remaining.