Cleck force leaders to work hard for victory

Cleckheaton's Matt Piper made a number of good runs during last Saturday's clash against National Three North leaders Sheffield Tigers.
Cleckheaton's Matt Piper made a number of good runs during last Saturday's clash against National Three North leaders Sheffield Tigers.

Cleckheaton made National League Three North leaders Sheffield Tigers work hard before eventually slipping to a 26-0 defeat at Dore Moor last Saturday.

The Moorenders welcomed back Josh Malkinson after several weeks out, while he had some precautionary tests before been given the green light to resume playing.

The team started brightly and took the game to Sheffield in the opening exchanges but could not get anything on the scoreboard to show for their efforts.

Sheffield gained territory as Cleckheaton once again racked up the penalties but despite several midfield runs, they could not get through their steely defence.

Midway through the first period the deadlock was broken when Tigers put together a catch and drive from close range and Will Bennett went in for a try, converted by Mark Ireland.

Despite Cleckheaton putting in an honest defensive effort, Tigers’ advantage was doubled when a clever inside ball opened up the defence and Henri Packard went through a gap to score and Ireland again goaled.

Cleckheaton worked hard to get up field and put pressure on the Tigers’ line but often kicked away ball cheaply and with a minute left in the first half, a mazy run from centre Jamie Broadley bamboozled the visiting defence to score Sheffield’s third try.

The conversion was missed but the home side led 19-0 at half-time.

Cleckheaton regrouped at the interval and playing downhill in the second half, put in an encouraging display.

They retained possession well with Tigers having to work hard to get any ball.

Jack Seddon worked tirelessly and frustrated the Tigers at every opportunity.

James Wilson had a good game and put in a number of cover tackles, while Matt Piper ran the ball in hard in centre field time and time again.

Cleckheaton found themselves camped in Tigers’ 22 on numerous occasions but could not get over the line.

Often this was because patience ran out and kicks were used rather than continuing with the steady bashing their way up field, which had been their best tactic.

Tigers’ line-out was disrupted a number of times with Luke Pearson and Ryan Piercy making it a hard afternoon for their opposite numbers and the league leaders, despite having pace and power all over the park, repeatedly had their attacking moves thwarted.

As the game looked to be heading for a scoreless second half, Tigers got a scrum deep within Cleck territory.

The scrum went to ground twice with Tigers being awarded a penalty each time and when a player was caught offside, the referee headed for the posts and award a penalty try. Ireland converted to seal victory.