Cleckheaton allow lead to slip as Moortown battle back to draw

Tom Austin leaps to gather a line-out ball during Cleckheaton's North One East clash at Moortown. Picture: Gerald Christian.
Tom Austin leaps to gather a line-out ball during Cleckheaton's North One East clash at Moortown. Picture: Gerald Christian.

Cleckheaton allowed a 10-point lead to slip from their grasp on their first ever league trip to Moortown as the home side battled back to secure a 22-22 draw last Saturday.

Cleckheaton made the short journey to Leeds as they met last season’s Yorkshire One champions.

Captain Matt Piper passed a late fitness test and Josh Plunkett returned in place of Danny Booth and Brad Marsden, who were unavailable.

Cleckheaton were unable to make much use of the wind in the early stages but the deadlock was eventually broken after 21 minutes when a long touch finding kick from Dale Breakwell put Cleck deep into the Moortown 22.

Matt Piper and Ollie Depledge applied pressure which resulted in a mistimed clearance that flew high in the air towards the home try line.

Mikey Hayward was quickest to react and gathered to touch down in the corner with Dale Breakwell adding an excellent touchline conversion.

Moortown’s backs saw little of the ball as the forward battle continued, but a committed drive by the No8 created space and a long ball allowed full-back Greenwood to score an unconverted try.

Another long kick downfield led to Cleckheaton’s forwards mounting an attack and when a scrum was set a terrific effort shunted the home pack back.

Jack Seddon and Tom Austin combined and the rest of the pack drove Austin over the tryline for a try which Breakwell converted to put the visitors 14-5 up at half-time.

Jack Marshall was shown a yellow card early in the second half with Moortown close to the try line.

The scrum option was called but great surge by the Cleck front row of Piper, Thrower and Jackson won the ball against the head and the lines were cleared.

Cleck were still down to 14-men when a crossfield kick wasn’t dealt with by Hayward and the loose ball was scooped up by Tom Moorby who raced away to score an excellent try, with the conversion reducing the lead to two points.

Cleckheaton were under considerable pressure for the next seven minutes but defended superbly before a fine counter attack involving Piper, Depledge and Hayward took play into the Moortown half where they were awarded a penalty for a high tackle and Breakwell kicked the 40 metre goal.

Another penalty was awarded after a Moortown player was adjudged to have collapsed a maul and quick thinking by Breakwell saw him kick to the far touchline and Seddon fed Wilson for an unconv unconverted try which put Cleck 22-12 ahead after 62 minutes.

Chris Piper and Archie Rika- Rayne entered the game as replacements for Jackson and Thrower and both had an impact with some surging runs.

The hosts kept chipping away and kicked a routine penalty from in front of the posts to reduce the arrears to 22-15.

The Moortown full-back put a long kick downfield, Hayward fielded it confidently but was then caught in possession and penalised for not releasing.

Moortown moved the ball left and Steve Waterhouse ran around the defence and scored to the left of the posts, the kick was good and it was tied game at 22-22.

There was time for late drama as Cleckheaton were awarded a penalty on halfway, Dale Breakwell kicked for goal but fell just short and this was the last action of a terrific game.

Cleckheaton return to Moorend this Saturday aiming for a third straight home win when they entertain West Hartlepool, kick off 3pm.