Fine first half display sets up opening day win for Cleckheaton

Jack Mashall holds of Scarborough's Jonty Holloway to score on his Cleckheaton debut. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Jack Mashall holds of Scarborough's Jonty Holloway to score on his Cleckheaton debut. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Cleckheaton RUFC opened their new North One East season with a narrow 32-29 victory over last season’s runners up Scarborough.

The visitors kicked off playing into the wind and were soon on the back foot, when smart work by Jack Seddon sent him on a galloping run up the touchline.

Scarborough infringed at the breakdown and Dale Breakwell slotted a 20 metre penalty and then extended the lead to 6-0 with another 35 metre penalty goal five minutes later.

Scarborough got their first try on 13 minutes when hooker Smyth forced his way over from close range, the conversion was added and the visitors led 7-6.

Cleckheaton played some breath-taking rugby in the next 20 minutes, Mike Hayward crossed for a try from a pinpoint kick from Dale Breakwell, who also converted.

Six minutes later Matt Piper ploughed across the line after good progress by Ryan Piercy and Dale Breakwell converted again to bring the score to 20-7.

Hayward crossed for his second try after a kick ahead was gathered by Olly Depledge who gave the scoring pass. Breakwell maintained his perfect record with the boot.

Hayward then turned provider giving the final pass to full-back Jack Marshall, who marked his league debut for the club with a fine try. Breakwell missed the kick but Cleckheaton had already secured a bonus point by half-time, leaving Scarborough shell shocked and 32-7 in arrears.

Scarborough started their fight back on 46 minutes with a close range effort by flanker Chris Purdy.

A series of penalties in quick succession saw referee Mr Downham issue a stern lecture to Cleck captain Matt Piper.

From the set piece re-start prop forward Cutino got over the line and with a quarter of the match remaining, Scarborough went in for their bonus point try as hooker Smyth crossed for his second of the game.

The kick was missed once again but there were now just 10 points in it at 32-22.

Cleckheaton finally got some possession deep in Scarborough territory but the ball was turned over and the chance lost.

With five minutes remaining, Scarborough attempted a 35 metre penalty after Seddon was sin binned but that sailed to the right of the posts.

Scarborough added a fifth try with the last play of the game that completed Smyth’s hat-trick and earned the visitors a losing point but Cleck held on for a terrific opening day win.

Cleckheaton make the long trip to North Shields on Saturday to face Percy Park, with the game kicking off at 2pm.