Cleckheaton’s unbeaten home record in National Three North fizzled away as they lost 17-13 at the hands of a well-prepared Lymm side.
A game lacking any real fire produced an even first half with both sides creating pressure but ultimately succumbing to handling errors, which let their opposition off the hook.
Cleckheaton were unable to dominate the line-out with Lymm working hard to disrupt the Moorenders attack.
Rob Afoa Peterson showed some class to break the opposition down and Tom Hanson went close, catching Lymm off-side, leading to a penalty, which Ross Hayden landed but this proved the only score of the first half.
Cleckheaton’s 3-0 lead didn’t last long as five minutes into the second half, a kick down field bounced to the left hand corner, wrong footing many of home chasers.
Centre Jack Ecclestone, fielded the ball and sprinted 80 metres up the touchline, stepping inside Cleckheaton’s scrambling defence before diving in at the corner. Richard Halford converted.
Cleckheaton’s forwards made some headway and Hayden found space but Lymm’s back line covered the ground well and looked dangerous.
Full-back Joe Knowles danced his way through three would-be defenders for Lymm’s second try. Halford converted and added a penalty to give his side a 17-3 lead.
Cleckheaton eventually hit their stride as Lymm tired with five minutes remaining.
Alex Dawson went on a barn-storming run and Afoa Peterson went close, drawing foul from the opposition.
A quick tap penalty from Matt Piper nearly brought instant reward and when the ball was fed out to Lee Queeley the powerful winger forced his way over.
The conversion attempt from Mike Piper drifted agonizingly wide.
From the re-start Cleckheaton applied the urgency and ruthlessness that had been missing for much of the game and Danny Vento barged his way over for a consolation try in the 80th minute.
The conversion attempt, also sailed wide and the referee sounded time on the match and on Cleckheaton’s home record, leaving Lymm with the spoils and the home side a solitary bonus point.
Cleckheaton seem to be experiencing the February blues where promotion is too far ahead but league safety is almost certainly assured.
The team are probably feeling comfortable in this league and perhaps that has led to a slight drop in performance.
The players and coaching staff will have no intention of letting the season fizzle out and will be looking forward to putting in the type of commanding performance which typified the first half of the campaign and which will be necessary to earn the points at Burnage on Saturday.