Young Kestrels impress in fine Cleckheaton triumph

Yorkshire Under-20s player Josh White carries the ball past the Cleckheaton Kestrels backroom staff during Saturday's match at Harrogate seconds. Picture:  Gerald Christian
Yorkshire Under-20s player Josh White carries the ball past the Cleckheaton Kestrels backroom staff during Saturday's match at Harrogate seconds. Picture: Gerald Christian
0
Have your say

Cleckheaton Kestrels produced a convincing performance to run out 32-5 winners away to Harrogate Seconds in the Yorkshire Merit League.

Seven of the side are current Colts players, with four of those making their second team debuts but all made contributions as Cleckheaton earned a bonus point win.

Harrogate could only field 14 men so George Speight was loaned to the home side.

Josh White opened the scoring after five minutes when a Cleckheaton penalty was kicked to the corner and the ensuing catch and drive was expertly guided to the try line. Matt Piper’s conversion attempt sailed wide.

Full-back Keiron Downes dealt with threatening Harrogate kicks, while 17-year-old scrum-half Joe Humphreys showed he has plenty to offer the senior squad on debut.

Props Will Denham and Max Blakely, the latter called up from the fourth team to have an impressive game, gave White a chance from a scrum.

The Yorkshire Under-20s player ran at the defence before off loading to Luke Pearson for Cleckheaton’s second try and from the re-start Richard Brown stormed 40 metres to set up another attack.

Colts duo Elliot Whetham and Elliot Hallas combined for the latter to score. James Wilson was unable to convert but Cleckheaton led 15-0.

Jack Seddon was introduced at hooker and took his first scrum against the head.

Simon Mitchell and another of Cleckheaton’s Yorkshire Under-20s players, Niall Jackson, also came on.

Matt Piper’s crossfield kick was gathered by Craig Blackburn for Cleck’s bonus point try before Wilson sprinted round the outside for their fifth score but despite Seddon taking over the kicking duties, the conversion was again missed.

Seddon made up for it when he took a ball on the inside, pushing through the defence and passing to Jackson for Cleckheaton’s sixth try.

This time Seddon’s conversion attempt was successful and gave the Kestrels a 32-0 lead.

With the match drawing to a close, it looked like Harrogate might be facing the ignominy of being beaten to nil but with Cleckheaton pressing again, a Blackburn pass was intercepted and the home winger sprinted 75 metres to spare his team’s blushes.

This was an assured victory for the Kestrels and the inclusion of so many young players showed that there is much promise within the club.