Cleckheaton were left to rue their lapses in concentration and discipline as they suffered a 26-18 defeat to Ilkley in National Three North.
Cleckheaton appeared in control but let the game slip away as they out scored Ilkley three tries to two but conceded 12 points from penalties in front of their own posts.
Cleckheaton took an early with a try from flanker Tom Austin following a half break and 20 metre rumble from prop Paul Turner.
Cleckheaton extended their lead 15 minutes later with a well worked try that saw Josh Hall and Martin Woodhead combine before James Wilson collected the off-load for a long range effort.
Once again the conversion attempt was no match for the cross-wind and the score remained 10-0.
Ilkley’s Joe Rowntree kicked a penalty goal but Ronan Evans reciprocated for the Moorenders to maintain the 10-point lead.
Ilkley had not really threatened Cleckheaton’s line but as the half drew to a close they mounted a rare surge.
As pressure mounted near the home team’s line, try scorer Austin, was sin binned for not clearing the ruck and Rowntree added another penalty, reducing the half-time arrears to 13-6.
Ilkley took advantage of their numerical superiority at the start of the second half as full-back Ben Magee ran down the middle for a well taken try. Rowntree converted to level the scores.
Cleckheaton were dealt a further blow as James Wilson tackled his man and then joined the ruck when he got to his feet.
The referee deemed that he had deliberately not moved backwards and joined the ruck through the gate and brandished a yellow card.
Rowntree kicked the penalty to put his side in the lead for the first time.
From the kick off Jack Seddon wrapped up the Ilkley catcher just before he had both feet on the ground and within the space of a minute the referee’s brandished a second yellow card .
Down to 13 men Cleck’s defences were stretched and Dion Hendrick crossed for Ilkely’s second try. Rowntree converted and then added a fourth penalty goal.
Matt Piper and man-of-the-match Ryan Piercy ran the ball at the Ilkley defence at every opportunity and Ross Hayden eventually got the ball over the line after Piper broke through the defence.
A controversially denied conversion attempt meant that Cleckheaton could not get within seven points of their opposition to claim a bonus league point.
Cleckheaton Kestrels began their Yorkshire RFU Premiership Merit League campaign in style as they ran out 30-20 winners against Ilkley’s second string in the reverse fixture at Stacks Field.
Ben Womersley crossed for a brace of tries, while Cain Crotty, Craig Blackburn and Elliot Sheard also scored.
Womersley capped a fine game by adding a conversion and a penalty goal to ensure the Kestrels made a winning start.
Cleckheaton’s second string host Hull Ionians on Saturday (ko 3pm).