Cleckheaton robbed of chance to snatch draw

Cleckheaton RUFC First Team 2015
Cleckheaton RUFC First Team 2015

Cleckheaton were denied the chance to snatch a draw against Sheffield Tigers when they were held up over the try line in the last minute.

It was a cracking National League Three clash in which Sheffield were left breathing a sigh of relief as they held on to win 27-20 at Moorend.

Cleckheaton made an excellent start and raced into an early lead as Ross Hayden landed a penalty goal before the home side attacked again from Sheffield’s kick off.

Another Tigers infringement allowed Michael Piper to kick for the corner and the previously off-form Cleckheaton line–out worked superbly, allowing Richard Piper to claim a try from the resulting driving maul.

Sheffield replied with an attack which took them into the Cleck ‘22.

A break for the line on the right wing was halted by the scrambling defence but when the ball was switched back inside, prop Ed Simmons scored between the posts and Tom Outram converted.

Full-back Pete Swatkins then exploited a gap in Cleck’s defence to score out wide and put Sheffield 12-8 ahead.

Cleck won possession from the restart and sent right winger Brad Marsden free.

He turned the ball inside to the supporting Hayden, who raced away to score in the corner and edge Cleckheaton 13-12 ahead at half-time.

Cleckheaton’s kick for the corner routine was used again, six minutes after the re-start, and Richard Piper was on hand to score. Hayden converted and the home side had an eight-point lead.

The Tigers were not going to be tamed without a fight and Outram kicked a penalty for a ruck offence to reduce the deficit to five points.

Swatkins was then on hand to complete a sweeping crossfield move and score his second try to level matters going into the final quarter.

The deadlock was broken when Tigers second row Josh Redfern broke through some half-hearted defence to score from 30 metres out.

Outram added the goal and Sheffield had turned things around to lead 27-20.

Cleckheaton piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes and gradually forced Tigers back into their own 22.

With time running out the home side set up several rolling mauls close to the Tigers line.

They turned down a kick at goal to go for the try and many of the crowd thought they had scored when man-of-the-match Richard Brown appeared to ground the ball over the line but the referee ruled he was held up.

With Cleck still camped on the Tigers line the full-time whistle went to end an excellent game of rugby.

While a draw would have been a fair result, another bonus point keeps Cleck fifth in the table with the next game away to sixth placed Billingham in two weeks time.