Cleckheaton show heart in fine second half fight back against York

Ben Thrower tries to help teammate Ryan Piercy during Cleckheaton's North One East defeat at the hands of York. Picture: Gerald Christian.
Ben Thrower tries to help teammate Ryan Piercy during Cleckheaton's North One East defeat at the hands of York. Picture: Gerald Christian.

Cleckheaton produced a brave second half performance but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 49-29 defeat away to York in North One East last Saturday.

The Moorenders trailed 35-10 at half-time and despite showing heart to battle back and earn a bonus point, they are yet to register a win on the road.

York were always going to prove tough opposition and victory leaves them third in the table, level on 20 points with Driffield and just one behind leaders Scarborough.

The early stages of the game saw both teams enjoying periods of possession, with Cleckheaton’s brightest moments coming through accurate kicking by Dale Breakwell, although they found it tough to break York’s defence.

York opened the scoring with a cracking try as Toby Atkin broke from inside his own half before releasing Sam Elliot out wide.

Elliot chipped over his opposite winger and regathered to cross, with Declan Cusack converting.

Oscar Bell set up another York attack and Atkin sent Rob Hodges over for a try wide out, with Cusack landing a terrific touchline goal.

York won a Cleckheaton scrum against the head and launched a quick counter attack, which covered 60 metres before the visitors’ cover got back to turn over possession and Breakwell cleared the danger.

However, it wasn’t long before York added a third try through Ross White, with Cusack again on target with the goal.

York’s bonus-point try followed shortly after as Shane Goulding broke from the back of a scrum and released Elliot, who in turn put Atkin over for the score, which Cusack improved for a 28-0 lead.

Cleckheaton responded well and set up a driving maul from a line-out which resulted in hooker Ben Thrower been driven over the line and Breakwell added the conversion and then kicked a 40 metre penalty goal soon after.

York re-established a healthy lead with a fifth try before half-time.

With Cleck’ centre, Olly Depledge injured, the York backs linked to create space with Rob Hodges finishing the move off to score his second try of the game and Cusack maintained his 100 per cent record with the boot to send his side in 35-10 ahead.

Cleckheaton looked for a response in the second half and made a quick start as they launched an attack and looked set to score out wide but Cusack made a deliberate knock on and was sin-binned.

Second row Josh Plunkett went over for an unconverted try on the next play before Cleck set up another driving maul, which rumbled 25 metres to the York line for Ryan Piercy to score. Breakwell converted.

Scrum-half Tom Breakwell finished off a move for Cleckheaton’s bonus point try and Dale Breakwell’s conversion reduced the arrears to 35-29.

However, York finished strongly and secured victory with two tries in the final quarter as Rob Hodges completed his hat-trick following slick handling before Shane Goulding crossed and Cusack kicked both goals.