cleckheaton have signed off their league season by finishing eighth in North One East — but they are hoping to have another couple of games under their belt as they contest the Yorkshire Cup semi-final next Wednesday, May 2, when Hull will be the visitors to Moorend, kick-off 7pm.
Hull, of National Two, last year’s beaten finalists qualified for the semi-final when Beverley, of National Three North, withdrew from the competition because they could not raise a team.
It sets up an intriguing contest in the semi-final and delivers Dave Harrison’s men an opportunity to avenge last season’s Yorkshire Cup semi-final defeat, when Cleckheaton lost 40-20 at Hull in dramatic circumstances as they played extra-time and the match finished in the dark.
Hull were shocked last year when Cleckheaton showed terrific determination to claw their way back into the game after they had taken a commanding 17-0 lead.
Richard Piper and Ian Gordon combined to drive the Cleckheaton fightback that night and both should be available again on Wednesday.
With another year of experience and home advantage Cleckheaton should be able to give Hull a real run for their money.
Piper will be a real threat as he is in terrific form having finished this season as the second highest try scorer in North One East, scoring 23 tries and notching up 115 points.
His Cleckheaton team-mate Ross Hayden is also in impressive form having scored 17 tries.
He finished fifth in the league’s list of top try scorers.
It would be quite a coup for Cleckheaton if they can overcome a team who are two divisions above them in the league pyramid.
Hull finished fourth in their division.
However, they signed off their league season with a 22-16 defeat in the derby with Hull Ionians.
In the other semi-final, also to be played next Wednesday, cup holders Huddersfield will entertain Wharfedale.
Cleckheaton finished their season with an 18-17 win over Malton and Norton last Saturday as they rallied from 17-0 down to sneak the win.
The RFU have sensibly agreed that the Moorenders will not have to play their match against bottom of the table Team Northumbria. The match was postponed two weeks ago when the Newcastle Students could not raise a team because of the Easter holidays.
It was felt that it would be pointless for Cleckheaton to travel to Newcastle for a meaningless fixture and the Moorenders will not receive any punishment.