Cleckheaton blown away in first half at Rossendale

Cleckheaton's Luke Pearson steals a Rossendale lineout during Saturday's National League Three North encounter. Picture Gerald Christian.
Cleckheaton's Luke Pearson steals a Rossendale lineout during Saturday's National League Three North encounter. Picture Gerald Christian.

Cleckheaton were blown away in the first half of their National League Three North game at Rossendale as they slipped to a 40-15 defeat last Saturday.

Rossendale took advantage of the significant slope in the first half and left Cleckheaton with a mountain to climb after the break.

Ronan Evans struck with a fifth minute penalty but Rossendale responded when Simon Walker burrowed over and Steve Nutt converted.

Rossendale went further ahead when Cleckheaton stopped chasing an attacker as they felt there was a knock-on in the build up.

Rossendale continued their attack and Nutt raced over for a try which he improved.

Rossendale scored another break away try via Jack Ward and Danny Vento was yellow carded for an alleged off-the- ball tackle and while Cleckheaton were down to 14 men, George Peel scored Rossendale’s fourth try.

Cleckheaton attempted to hit back when 20-year-old second row, Luke Pearson, who has played in all Cleckheaton’s league games this season and has earned a well deserved first team tie, turned over Rossendale’s line out.

Matt Piper and Vento drove the ball in before winger Martin Woodhead feigned a pass to his right and strolled through the gap for a well taken try. Evans landed the conversion despite the swirling wind.

Rossendale were not finished making the most of the slope and scrum-half James Bramhall scored between the posts, leaving Nutt to add the extras to close the half 33-10.

Cleckheaton started the second half with intent and camped in Rossendale’s 22, using their forwards to good effect.

The home team found it hard to clear their lines for any length of time and Cleck’s trademark catch and drive netted a try for Richard Piper.

Cleckheaton could have easily scored another couple of tries if not for handling errors and looked like a different team playing downhill.

However it was not to be Cleckheaton’s day and with Rossendale on the back foot, deep in their own territory, a loose pass from the Moorenders went to ground and was booted up field by the opposition.

Rossendale’s Alex Hurst won the 75 metre race and dived on the ball to score against the run of play. Nutt converted to bring the score to 40-15.

With 10 minutes remaining, the ground was subject to a torrential downpour, hampering any further constructive play and sealing a dismal day for Cleckheaton.

Cleckheaton face Rossendale again in mid April at Moorend and need to make fewer mistakes if they are to get anything out of that game.

Cleckheaton host Wirral on Saturday, who arrive having lost just once in their last 12 games and a tough test awaits.