Cleckheaton recorded their first away win of the season at soggy Driffield last Saturday as they handed the North One East league leaders a first home defeat with an impressive 37-28 triumph.
Brad Marsden was unavailable but former Batley Bulldogs rugby league forward Tom Lillicrop was making his first team debut for the Moorenders on the bench.
Driffield struck the first blow and were on the scoreboard after 11 minutes when they took advantage of Tom Austin being sent to the sin bin for a dubious tackle and crossed for an unconverted try on the right.
It didn’t get much better for Cleckheaton as on 15 minutes the Driffield number eight was on hand to crash over for a second try and the conversion put the home side 12-0 ahead.
Cleckheaton got a foothold in Driffield territory and when Ryan Piercy won ball at a line out, the maul rumbled forward and hooker Ben Thrower crashed over for his third try of the season, which Dale Breakwell converted.
Driffield responded with a third try after 27 minutes when their number six crossed for a simple score but Watts screwed his conversion attempt wide.
It was now Cleckheaton’s turn to hit back as Tom Breakwell took a quick penalty and found Mike Hayward, who crossed for a try five metres in from touch. Dale Breakwell added a terrific goal as they reduced the half-time arrears to 17-14.
Watts found his range with a 40 metre penalty goal five minutes after the re-start to extend the lead to 20-14 but the Cleckheaton pack were dominant in the scrums and line-out was secure.
From one such passage, Ben Thrower crashed over for a third try with Dale Breakwell adding another conversion and Cleckheaton had the lead for the first time.
The home side edged back in front after 56 minutes thanks to another Watts penalty.
Cleckheaton man-of-the-match Dale Breakwell was immaculate with the boot and added a 30 metre drop goal to put the visitors 24-23 ahead and it was a lead which they wouldn’t relinquish.
Matt Piper picked up a cross kick and made progress before handing on to Josh Plunkett .
Although he was held up short of the line, Plunkett offloaded to Matt Piper who crashed over for the bonus point try which Dale Breakwell again converted to put Cleckheaton two scores ahead at 31-23.
A second Breakwell drop goal and a 45 metre penalty added to Driffield’s misery as Cleckheaton extended their advantage to 37-23.
Driffield added a fourth try to secure a bonus point and a successful conversion would have given them two points but the kick was wide and the referee blew for full time.
It was an excellent team performance from Cleckheaton, which saw them move up to third place, two points behind Driffield and three adrift of new leaders Scarborough.
The east coast side took over at the top after they earned a 14-13 win away to Durham City.
Cleckheaton take a break from league action this week but will return with a tasty home derby against Morley on November 9, kick off 2.15pm.
Morley’s game at Bradford and Bingley was postponed last week.