Cleckheaton maintain excellent home record

Cleckheaton's Oliver Ackroyd breaks off the pack and heads towards the Billingham line.
Cleckheaton's Oliver Ackroyd breaks off the pack and heads towards the Billingham line.

Cleckheaton displayed excellent character in a passionate display to maintain their unbeaten home record with a bonus point win over Billingham.

Despite making a number of changes, Cleckheaton gave it their all to claim a 24-18 victory in a closely fought match which was finely balanced throughout.

Cleckheaton opened the scoring when Ross Hayden fielded a kick close to halfway and an injection of pace took him past two defenders for a try in the corner, before he converted from the touchline.

Billingham hit back when they created space on the right flank for Dan Finney to score. Pete Evans converted to level.

Callum Thompson, Ben Thrower and Alex Dawson began to overpower their opposition, with support from Grant Turton and Carl Mason.

Eventually Callum Thompson forced his way over for an unconverted try.

Cleckheaton continued to attack as captain Jack Bickerdike and Martin Woodhead tested the defence with some well timed up and unders, while Billingham thwarted a break from Jarrad Toulson.

A rare lapse in what had been a well defended line, allowed the visitors’ Pete Evans to dive over in the corner to level at 12-12 at the break.

A penalty from in front of the posts saw Billingham take the lead but Cleckheaton responded with passion and inside centre Danny Vento made impressive headway.

The back row of Ollie Akroyd, Jack Seddon and Josh White worked tirelessly and from a ruck, Seddon beat the first line of defence and fed Hayden for his second try.

The conversion attempt hit a post leaving Cleckheaton with a two-point lead.

Coach Ian Armitage brought on fresh legs with Gareth Lamb, Jim Crowther and Robin Bennett introduced.

Cleckheaton conceded a penalty and Billingham edged in front.

Cleckheaton’s spirit shone through and when James Wilson added strength to a maul, the momentum looked unstoppable.

Billingham illegally pulled down Cleckheaton’s formation and the referee ran to the posts to award a penalty try, with the conversion sealing a very satisfying bonus point win, in which Bickerdike claimed man of the match.

The win allowed Cleckheaton to leapfrog their opponents and they now face a run of matches against three of the bottom four sides