Cleckheaton can take positives from defeat

Ronan Evans converted Cleckheatons penalty try and kicked a penalty but it wasnt enough to prevent his side slipping to an opening day defeat to Lymm.
Ronan Evans converted Cleckheatons penalty try and kicked a penalty but it wasnt enough to prevent his side slipping to an opening day defeat to Lymm.

Cleckheaton suffered a 17-10 defeat at home to Lymm on the opening day of the National League Three North campaign last Saturday.

A dismal day was served up by the weather at Moorend and similar fare was on display on the pitch.

Cleckheaton had the lion’s share of territory and possession in the first half and a nice break from Neil Chivers created a chance but knock-ons and other errors in Lymm’s danger zone thwarted attempts to get on the scoreboard.

Lymm were also racking up the error count in the conditions and neither side could play flowing rugby.

Ironically the club were trialling a new PitcheroPlay system, which beams live score updates and video clips to their website but unfortunately there was little to report as the game remained 0-0 after half an hour.

A foray into Cleckheaton’s 22 gave Lymm chance to apply pressure but the defensive effort was solid with Paul Turner putting in some big hits despite arriving back from China only a few hours earlier.

A quickly spun ball created a gap in Cleckheaton’s line leading to an unconverted try for Owens.

From the restart Lymm booted the ball down field. A fumble from Cleckheaton’s full-back allowed the visitors to hack the ball on and McEvoy gathered for their second try in two minutes to put his side 10-0 up at half-time.

Cleckheaton went further behind shortly after the re-start when a missed tackle in the middle of the field created a foot race to the line.

McEvoy was triumphant again and the conversion gave Lymm a 17-0 lead.

Cleckheaton dug in and a wave of pressure culminated in the referee awarding the home side a penalty try.

Ronan Evans converted and then brought the scores within seven points with a penalty from 35 metres out.

With minutes to go Cleckheaton were camped in Lymm’s 22 and were awarded a penalty 10 metres from the line.

Cleckheaton kicked to the corner setting up a line-out but the usual strong weapon in the Moorenders armoury, proved difficult in the wet conditions and Lymm secured the ball to clear their lines.

Lymm took the four points, leaving Cleckheaton to reflect on a game they could have won, comforted by the consolation of a bonus point.

There were a number of positives to take away from the game as Cleckheaton’s defence looked solid against the team that finished third in the league last year.

n Cleckheaton Kestrels made the daunting trip to Grassington to face National Two side Wharfedale.

The North Yorkshire men traditionally have a very strong second team at this time of year and this proved to be the case on Saturday.

Despite the 54-0 defeat, Cleckheaton put in a brave effort, having to play four forwards in their back line against the flying pace of Wharfedale’s back three.