New Cleckheaton coaches eye winning start

Injury blow: Cleckheaton were dealt a set-back when Jack Bickerdike suffered a broken thumb against Old Brodleians in a warm-up game 10 days ago.
Injury blow: Cleckheaton were dealt a set-back when Jack Bickerdike suffered a broken thumb against Old Brodleians in a warm-up game 10 days ago.

CLECKHEATON RUFC will aim to hit the ground running in a bid to make a quick return to the National Leagues following last season’s relegation.

The Moorenders begin life in North One East on Saturday with a long trip to Cumbria as they face Penrith on the opening day of the season with new coaches in charge.

Head coach Thiu Barnard and backs player-coach, Mike Swetman, will be aiming to make a winning start having taken over during the summer.

Barnard has joined the club from Sheffield Tigers where he was head coach and a player for the last three years, while Swetman joins Cleckheaton after a number of years coaching at Bowden in Cheshire.

Both have a long playing pedigree and Swetman will start in the centre for the opening fixture at Penrith, when Huddersfield University student Alex Garden is also expected to make his Cleckheaton debut

The teams last played each other in the 2009/10 season, when Penrith took the spoils at their home ground so Cleck will be aiming to reverse those fortunes.

The Moorenders suffered a set back 10 days ago when scrum-half Jack Bickerdike suffered a broken thumb during a warm up game against Old Brodleians and faces several months on the sidelines.

This gives Lewis Beasty the opportunity to make his debut first team league start against Penrith.

Paul Turner is also away for the opening game and James Wilson is injured but Cleckheaton welcome pacy winger Mikey Hayward back into the fold.

Cleckheaton RUFC

Weekend Selected Sides

1stXV at Penrith, ko 3pm, meet 10.20am: Alex Garden, Mikey Hayward, Mike Swetman, Matt Piper, Cain Crotty, Ronan Evans, Lewis Beasty, Niall Jackson, Ben Thrower, Andy Piper, Luke Pearson, Ryan Piercy, Brad Marsden, Tom Austin, Josh Plunkett-White. Reps: Matt Wood, James Crowther, Jack Seddon.

Kestrels at Sheffield, kick off 3pm, 12.15pm: Craig Blackburn, Jake Jagger, Lee Williams, Neil Cherryholme, Keiran Baldry, Liam Darville, Joe Humphries, Will Denham, Ollie Clark, Joe Roberts, Carl Mason, Josh Clough, Rob Lowe, Charlie McGovern, Will Boot. Replacements: James Sheridan, George Speight.

3rdXV Bradford & Bingley away, kick off 3pm, meet 1.15pm: Nick Lazenby, Josef Windle, Anthony Hobson, Anthony McCarthy, Nick Wagstaff, Stan Doff, Bob Thornton, Miles Nicholson, Phil Manning, Andy Womersley, Josh Womersley, Lyndon Clough, Adam Clough, Andy Brown, Andy Tilby-Baxter.