Moorenders win at Waterloo to move clear of relegation trouble

Richard Pipers 72nd minute try proved a key moment as Cleckheaton recorded in crucial win away to Firwood Waterloo which allowed them to move nine points clear of the National Three North relegation zone.
Richard Pipers 72nd minute try proved a key moment as Cleckheaton recorded in crucial win away to Firwood Waterloo which allowed them to move nine points clear of the National Three North relegation zone.

Cleckheaton produced a terrific second half performance to over come Firwood Waterloo 27-22 and move nine points clear of the National Three North relegation zone.

The appetising fixture did not disappoint as Cleckheaton fought back from 22-7 down at half-time to claim a crucial win.

Cleckheaton scored first when Ronan Evans took a pass on the inside from Josh Hall to finish off a sweeping break started by Jack Bickerdike.

Evans converted as the visitors led 7-0 but for the next 35 minutes Waterloo dominated.

Buoyed by their last minute win over Morley the previous week, Waterloo threw the ball wide at every opportunity and put their speedy three-quarter line into action.

Cleckheaton became their own worst enemies and made several unforced errors.

The home team ran in three tries without reply, with Mark Rylance, Liam Reeve and Jack Weare all crossing. Reeve landed two conversions and added a penalty as Waterloo led 22-7 at the interval.

Cleckheaton appeared to have a mountain to climb against a side who were playing a confident and expansive game but they regrouped and James Wilson took the field for the injured Ollie Depledge.

Cleckheaton started the second period with renewed vigour and kept the ball in hand.

Martin Woodhead went close before Cleck won a line out 10 metres from Waterloo’s line and with the help of Niall Jackson, Ryan Piercy guided the ball over for the try.

A chip over from Neil Chivers bounced in Cleck’s favour and was collected by Josh Hall, who rounded the last defender to score. Evans converted and reduced the arrears to three points.

Cleckheaton were now hogging possession and drove to within five metres of the Waterloo line following a rampaging run by captain Richard Piper and another strong drive by Jack Seddon.

Andy Piper picked up a shoulder injury in winning the line out and Tom Austin re-took the field.

Luke Pearson collected the ball and Richard Piper clamped in under his arm before breaking to his left for Cleckheaton’s fourth try to put them ahead. Evans missed the conversion but extended the lead with a penalty goal soon after.

The referee played six minutes of injury time, in which Mark Chivers was sin-binned and Cleckheaton had to defend for a nerve-racking last five minutes with only 14 men, as Waterloo pressed for one last twist.

The Moorenders held out as the final whistle blew and they claimed a bonus point win.