Cleckheaton’s winning run against local rivals Morley came to an end last Saturday as they suffered a 14-10 defeat in the North One East derby clash at Moorend.
Morley had not won at Cleckheaton’s home ground since March 2010, when they secured a 33-15 success, but the Maroons triumphed in a closely fought contest which saw the defences on top for long periods.
Cleckheaton had the better of the first half but will feel they let an opportunity slip as they failed to capitalise after Morley were reduced to 14 men following the eighth minute sin-binning of prop Fishwick for interfering with a quick penalty.
Morley led through Chester’s sixth minute penalty but missed a chance to equalise when the usually reliable Dale Breakwell was off target with his own shot at goal.
Cleckheaton boast the best attack in the league and had the majority of possession but Morley boast the tightest defence and held firm.
Mikey Hayward had Cleckheaton’s best chance when he broke through but was brought down by opposite winger Jay West, who impressed on his Morley debut.
A second Chester penalty doubled Morley’s lead but Cleckheaton initially looked stronger at the start of the second half with a Breakwell penalty narrowing the gap to 6-3 three minutes after the re-start.
The solid visitors defence again thwarted Cleckheaton before Morley began to gain the upper hand.
Morley went close through Patterson’s quick dart, followed by good work from Knowles and Jones before Chester’s long kick forced Cleckheaton to carry the ball over their own line.
A further Cleckheaton infringement allowed Chester to kick his third penalty after 67 minutes and, as the Moorenders tried to get out of their own ‘22, a great turnover by Nick Green gave Morley possession.
Quick hands along the backs allowed Jay West sufficient space to score wide out. Chester’s touchline conversion attempt hit the post but Morley were led 14-3 after 73 minutes.
Cleckheaton capitalised on a couple of rare Morley errors for centre Ollie Deplidge to run in for a try and Breakwell made no mistake with the conversion.
However, Cleckheaton were unable to snatch a late win as Morley’s defence held out and it was the visitors who pressing at the end as they celebrated a rare win at fortress Moorend.