CLECKHEATON battled out a hard-fought win on their long trip to Morpeth last Saturday.
Victory should dispel any lingering worries that the Moorenders could be dragged into the North One East relegation zone following a workmanlike display against their Northumbria hosts.
Richard Piper got the ball rolling when he crossed for his 18th try in what is turning into an exceptional campaign for the back row man.
Piper lies second in the try scoring charts, just one behind Peter Evans of league leaders Billingham and as Cleckheaton have a game in hand on the front runners, he has an excellent chance of finishing top scorer with seven matches remaining.
Four minutes after Piper’s try, prop Paul Turner was sin-binned and while the Moorenders were down to 14 men, Matthew Jinks landed a penalty for the home side to make it 5-3.
On the stroke of half-time winger James Wilson crossed for Cleck’s second try and Iain Gordon slotted over his 88th goal of the season to put the visitors 12-3 up.
Opposite winger Ross Hayden got in on the scoring act with his 12th try of the season and although there was no conversion this time, Cleckheaton were in control, leading 17-3.
Jinks replied with a penalty for Morpeth and the visitors’ line was finally breached in the 59th minute when Paul Mooney crossed and Jinks converted to hive his side hope.
However, Cleckheaton remained solid for the remaining quarter, denying Morpeth further points as they held on for an excellent victory, which will provide them with a confidence boost ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly awaited derby return at Old Brodleians.