Cleckheaton earn another derby win

Rugby Union - Cleckheaton RUFC (red and white) v Old Crossleyans (blue). (d12031284)
Rugby Union - Cleckheaton RUFC (red and white) v Old Crossleyans (blue). (d12031284)

Cleckheaton 36

Old Crossleyans 24

CLECKHEATON racked up another derby triumph as they secured a five-point win over North One East strugglers Crossleyans at Moorend last Saturday.

It was the second time in as many week’s Dave Harrison’s men had overcome one of their local rivals and they certainly hold the West Yorkshire bragging rights following two victories apiece over Brodleians and Crossleyans.

Cleckheaton never looked like losing as they overpowered Crossleyans in virtually every department.

The Moorenders hit Crocs with a two-try blast in the early stages of each half and then scored an interception try late in the game — just as they had in the win at Brods seven days earlier — to deny the visitors chance of a losing bonus point.

Crossleyans had Rob Oliver and Ed Cockroft yellow carded for dissent.

The strength of the wind blowing down the ground became clear when home stand-off Iain Gordon kicked the ball dead from well inside his half.

However, centre Pete Murphy soon got the angle right to find touch deep in Crocs’ half and Cleckheaton set up a driving maul.

Hooker Steve Worsley got the touchdown and Gordon converted as Cleckheaton were up and running after six minutes.

Cleckheaton then broke from just outside their ‘22 following a pass which appeared to be blown forward. Referee Jonathon Hill didn’t spot it but cut short a dangerous home move to bring back play and sin-bin back rower Oliver.

From full-back Johnno Marshall’s penalty to touch, Cleckheaton again rumbled forward through their pack and back rower Richard Piper’s unconverted try made it 12-0 after 10 minutes.

Crocs were pinned in their half for the next 20 minutes but defended bravely, aided by Cleckheaton errors in possession.

A Neil Richardson kick looked to have eased the pressure but Cleckheaton attacked from deep through their backs and added another converted try after 30 minutes.

The home side created space wide on the right for Ross Hayden, across from the other flank, to touch down. Gordon thumped over the goal.

An excellent counter attack, featuring Gareth Ott, Oliver, Manny Riaz and Cockroft heralded a strong finish to the half from Crocs.

James Wainwright burst through but was collared and the visitors had to settle for an easy three points from Cockroft immediately before the break.

Crocs’ hopes of bridging the gap further with the wind behind them were dashed as Cleckheaton flexed their muscles again.

Ott matched Gordon’s earlier mistake in kicking dead and Cleckheaton predictably kept the ball in the forwards, Richard Piper plunging over in the corner on 45 minutes.

It was Piper’s 21st league try of a superb season which allowed him to draw level at the top of the division’s try scoring charts.

It was all too easy for Cleck as Murphy sent Marshall in wide out for another unconverted try to make it 29-3 just three minutes later.

Crocs were not about to throw in the towel and although Murphy got back to pull down Joe Baker following a break, they eventually created space for lock Chris Wood to stroll in 20 metres to the right of the posts on 56 minutes. Cockroft converted.

Ott was ruled to have knocked on over the try line but Crocs continued their good spell and Wainwright scooted in between the posts on 74 minutes, Cockroft’s goal making it 29-17 to give his side a glimmer of hope.

Crossleyans had to keep the ball alive but Hammond tried to force one pass too many and Murphy picked it off to run 30 metres and score and Gordon added his third goal on a difficult afternoon for kickers.

Cockroft was yellow yarded but Crossleyans still had the last word, Leigh Thomas took Chris Seymour’s pass at speed and hastily drop kicked the conversion, only for the final whistle to blow.

It signalled the start of Cleckheaton’s celebrations for another impressive derby triumph.

Grant Turton was Cleckheaton’s man-of-the-match.