A youthful Cleckheaton team overcame Sheffield 29-10 to send the Moorenders into the Yorkshire Cup quarter-finals last Saturday.
Cleckheaton included five players who are part of the Yorkshire Under-20s squad, with only five of the first team who defeated Burnage the previous week starting.
This gave a great opportunity for head coach, Ian Armitage, to have a look at a number of Kestrels players who are on the fringe of the first team with debuts were handed to 18 year olds, Niall Jackson, Luke Pearson, Brad Marsden and Jake Jagger.
North East One leaders Sheffield got an early score when a kick was charged down and winger Alistair Womack won the race for the try.
Sheffield’s prospects were dampened after 20 minutes when their No8 was sin-binned and Cleckheaton pressed home their numeric advantage when man-of-the-match Josh White created space on the blind side for James Wilson, who shimmied his way over for a try, which Jarrad Toulson converted.
Cleckheaton increased their lead in fortunate circumstances when 17 year-old Sam Wood finished off a break and the try was awarded despite Sheffield claims that the ball wasn’t properly grounded.
The conversion was missed but Cleckheaton went into the break with a 12-5 lead.
The Moorenders went further ahead at the start of the second half when Wood kicked into space and Jake Jagger surprised the covering defender with his pace, causing the ball to be spilled, and the winger gathered for Cleckheaton’s third try. Toulson added the touchline goal.
Injuries to two Sheffield front rowers meant the game descended to uncontested scrums after an hour and this led to immediate success for the visitors who went in for a try, reducing the arrears 19-10.
Cleckheaton made a number of changes with Callum Thompson, Paul Turner, Alex Dawson, James Crowther, Lewis Beasty and George Speight introduced.
Cleck piled the pressure on Sheffield’s line and sealed their progress to the quarter-finals when Martin Woodhead went in for a try.
Callum Thompson drove over for Cleckheaton’s fifth try in the final minute, capping an impressive all-round display.
Cleckheaton travel to Wagon Lane to meet Bradford & Bingley in the quarter-final on December 20.