Cleckheaton put their tenure in National League Three North next year beyond doubt with an emphatic bonus point win over Rossendale.
The 25-12 victory also means the club completes the second half of the season unbeaten at home, following a huge turn around in fortunes since the new year.
The game was played in front of a sizeable crowd, which was boosted by a well attended pre-match lunch.
Mid-way through the first half, a penalty gave Cleckheaton a line-out 15 metres from Rossendale’s line.
The visitors’ sizeable pack successfully disrupted the Moorenders’ catch and drive but the forwards got the ball to ground and rucked over.
Scrum half Jack Bickerdike cleared the final player, leaving Matt Piper to dummy right and scoot over for the opening try, which Ronan Evans converted.
Rossendale charged their forwards into Cleckheaton’s defence but a noteworthy hit by skipper Richard Piper dislodged the ball.
With this possession Cleckheaton went on to score the best try of the day. Flanker Jack Seddon collected the ball just inside his own half and charged at a Rossendale man breaking the tackle before stepping round the next defender and finding James Wilson in support.
Wilson drew Rossendale’s full-back and passed back inside for Seddon to complete a superb effort.
George Peel went in for Rossendale to narrow the scores to 12-5 before Seddon added his second try following a line-out catch and drive.
Evans missed the conversion but added a penalty goal at the end of the half to give Cleckheaton a 20-5 lead.
The majority of the second half remained scoreless with tempers fraying on both sides, resulting in two yellow cards for Cleckheaton and a red for Rossendale.
With 10 minutes to go Danny Vento went in for Cleckheaton’s bonus point try, guaranteeing the single point his team needed to mathematically seal safety in the division.
Vento collected the ball from the back of a scrum and darted in. The conversion attempt narrowly missed but the margin was now 25-5 and the game was in the bag.
Rossendale’s Ryan de la Harpe got a consolation try but that was not going to take the shine off an excellent performance from Cleckheaton, who thoroughly deserved their five point win.