Cleckheaton aim to upset odds at leaders

Ross Hayden scored for Cleckheaton Kestrels last Saturday but he has been playing rugby league for Mirfield Stags.
Ross Hayden scored for Cleckheaton Kestrels last Saturday but he has been playing rugby league for Mirfield Stags.

Cleckheaton will bid to upset the odds when they travel to National League Three North leaders Sheffield Tigers in their opening match of 2016 on Saturday.

The Moorenders are languishing second-bottom of the table, seven points off safety and a massive 42 adrift of the leaders.

The Tigers have won all six games on home midden this season and have already opened up a 16-point lead over second placed Wirral as they march towards promotion.

Cleckheaton were well in the game when the Tigers visited Moorend earlier in the season before late scores gave the visitors a flattering 41-12 victory.

Cleckheaton must be at their best is they are to stem the Sheffield tide but, while they would probably settle for a bonus point, Scott Benton’s men will target more winnable games in the remainder of January.

Cleckheaton entertain eighth-placed Lymm in their first home game of the new year on January 16 and then travel to bottom side Burnage for what many will see as a must-win encounter.

Cleckheaton end January with a home clash against Hull after which they will hope to have at least closed the gap on Ilkley and Huddersfield YMCA, who are directly above them.

Cleckheaton earned a timely boost in confidence last Saturday when their second team recorded an impressive victory over Selby.

Excellent defence kept Selby at bay in a scoreless first half before Ross Hayden and Jack Seddon crossed for second half tries as the Kestrels ran out 14-0 winners.

Cleckheaton have certainly missed the services of Hayden this season as he has been playing rugby league with Mirfield Stags, who are currently top of the Pennine League Championship.