CLECKHEATON claimed a bonus point win in their first home game against North One East newcomers Sheffield.
Former Cleckheaton favourite, John Dudley was in Sheffield’s ranks and the visitors scored first when winger Alex Hill crossed for a converted try inside 10 minutes.
Cleckheaton’s lineout had not worked well in the early stages, allowing Sheffield to monopolise possession and but for solid defence from Andy Piper and Iain Gordon, Sheffield may have extended the lead.
The vociferous crowd expressed some disappointment when Ross Hayden had a try chalked off, when Pete Murphy’s pass was ruled forward.
The home fans didn’t have long to cheer as Gordon superbly floated a long kick for a lineout 15 metres from the line. Pressure on the catcher from Ryan Piercy and James Sergeant was enough to see the ball go to ground and captain Paul Turner pounced on it and drove across the line . Gordon added the extras to level the scores.
Cleckheaton took the lead when a long pass from Murphy, who put in an excellent day’s work, found Martin Woodhead out wide and the centre had the strength to put Hayden in space 40 metres out.
Hayden’s trademark step left another defender grasping thin air and the winger went in for an unconverted try.
Cleckheaton were awarded a penalty, leading to a lineout 10 metres from Sheffield’s line. A catch and drive was executed with aplomb and Richard Piper went in for Cleckheaton’s third try, which gave them a 17-7 lead.
Sheffield converted a 35th penalty to pullwithin seven points at the break.
As club doctor, Jim Lee, placed four stitches in a wound on Richard Piper’s eyebrow, coach Dave Harrison stressed the importance of good option-taking to his troops.
Sheffield started with renewed determination, centre Dave McCabe going in for an unconverted try within two minutes of the re-start to narrow the scores 17-15.
Cleckheaton responded in the best possible way, applying pressure from the kick-off and eventually won a five-metre scrum.
Ollie Depledge capitalised and put Ryan Piercy into a gap and he beat the full-back, stood on the line for an unconverted try which restored Cleck’s seven-point advantage.
Sheffield kicked a penalty following a period of pressure before Paul Turner contributed the game’s champagne moment and cemented his claim the Moorenders man-of-the-match award.
Turner went on a bullocking run from the back of a ruck pushing away two defenders and carrying a further two almost 20 metres before being taken to ground. A long pass fired from Depledge found Matt Piper and he went in for the final try.
A competent performance by the team, which they will look to build on when they make the trip up the A1 to Gateshead thomorrow.