Victory sees Cleckheaton title charge back on track

Ross Hayden scored a try and kicked six goals for a personal haul of 18 points in Cleckheaton's impressive victory over Pocklington last Saturday.
Ross Hayden scored a try and kicked six goals for a personal haul of 18 points in Cleckheaton's impressive victory over Pocklington last Saturday.

Cleckheaton got their North One East title charge back on track with a six-try display of quality rugby to earn a 43-20 victory at Pocklington.

The Moorenders bounced back from defeat to YMCA in style and remain 13 points clear at the top of the table with just five matches remaining, four of which are against sides in the bottom half of the table.

Ross Hayden opened the scoring with a penalty inside five minutes but Cleck were dealt a blow when hooker Ben Thrower had to leave the field with a knee injury, to be replaced by James Crowther.

The teenager’s role was to prove vital in Cleckheaton’s overall performance under considerable pressure.

Pocklington replied through a penalty from full back Charlie Allen but Cleck’s powerful forward play created field positions for scoring opportunities.

Tries followed from Andy Piper and James Wilson, both converted by Hayden, as the Moorenders proved there was to be no hangover from the disappointing defeat the previous week.

Pocklington hit back straight from the restart when back row Jack Holbrough caught the kick-off, took play 30 metres into the Cleckheaton 22 with further drives taking them close to the line before Tim Nixon dived over for his team’s first try. Allen converted and added a penalty five minutes later.

Cleckheaton showed their mettle and the reaction was the performance of a champion team.

The pack intensified its efforts driving their opponents back in the set scrums and Ollie Akroyd dominating the line.

The game became more open as Pocklington tired following their defensive stint and the visitors took their opportunities with tries from Akroyd, Rob Afoa-Peterson and Ollie Depledge.

Two further Hayden conversions put the Moorenders out of sight.

With five minutes to go Hayden capped another excellent individual display with a try which he converted for a personal haul of 18 points.

Pocklington completed the scoring with a last minute converted try but nothing could take the shine off an excellent performance from the whole team as Cleckheaton bounced back in style and took another big step towards automatic promotion to the National Leagues.