Cleckheaton suffer derby defeat after starting well

Richard Piper scores Cleckheatons first try against YMCA.  Picture: Gerald Christian
Richard Piper scores Cleckheatons first try against YMCA. Picture: Gerald Christian

Cleckheaton made a bright start to their National League Three North derby at Huddersfield YMCA before slipping to a 41-17 defeat.

The Moorenders led early on and were encouraged by scoring the opening try only for their neighbours to click into gear and run out winners.

An early penalty saw Cleckheaton kick towards the YMCA line and set up a 10 metre line-out, which proved so effective last season.

Richard Piper directed the driving maul over the line for the try.

YMCA hit back with a Simon Wilson penalty but Cleckheaton were soon back inside the home 22 with another line-out.

Ben Thrower threw, Luke Pearson safely plucked the ball from the air and the rest of the pack set up the drive.

Richard Piper broke off the back and ran to the line, carrying a defender over with him.

Mike Piper’s successful conversion looked to have Cleckheaton in control, leading 12-3.

Things started to go astray for Cleckheaton as a lapse in concentration allowed scrum half Wilson to take a quick tap penalty and he darted over from 20 metres out.

The YMCA pack then turned Cleck over in the loose and Lewis Berry went over .

Wilson, who deservedly picked up man-of-the-match, converted both tries to put YM into a 17-12 lead at the break.

Cleckheaton came out for the second half in determined mood and looked to pile on the pressure with another kick to the corner.

YMCA illegally pulled down Cleck’s drive five metres out but rather than tapping and quickly setting up another driving maul, the team opted to take the risk of having a line out, which they lost and the pressure was relieved.

Cleckheaton started to unravel, handing possession away, while rash decisions replaced patience.

The Moorenders also conceded unnecessary penalties and YMCA took advantage to score another converted try.

Further infringements gifted Wilson another penalty goal, as YMCA led 27-12.

A break from Jack Bickerdike and good recycling and passing along the back line put Martin Woodhead in at the corner for an unconverted try.

The faint hope Cleckheaton had faded fast as the Laund Hill team went in for another two tries via Sam Hodge and Wilson, with the latter maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot as YMCA sealed a resounding win.

It was a disappointing day for Cleckheaton and their posse of supporters but a game from which many lessons can and should be learnt.

The team face a tough fixture at home to early league leaders Sheffield Tigers this Saturday (kick off 3pm) and a much improved 80 minutes will be required if the Moorenders are to get anything out of the game.