`

Cleckheaton end campaign with remarkable success

Happy Mike Swetman as he scores his hat-trick try during Cleckheaton's remarkable 70-59 victory over Penrith in their final game of the North One East season last Saturday. Picture: Gerald Christian.
Happy Mike Swetman as he scores his hat-trick try during Cleckheaton's remarkable 70-59 victory over Penrith in their final game of the North One East season last Saturday. Picture: Gerald Christian.

An extraordinary game enthralled a sun drench crowd at Moorend as Cleckheaton finished the North One East season with a match featuring a total of 20 tries and 129 points.

More remarkable still was the fact that the visitors from Penrith enjoyed a 59-35 lead with only 20 minutes to go, before Cleck staged an unbelievable comeback to win 70-59.

Penrith came to Moorend with an outside chance of a play-off place and started in explosive fashion when quick hands and pace out wide led to an excellent try via full-back Jay Rossi.

Cleckheaton countered when a kick to the corner from Ronan Evans was gathered by Mikey Hayward who crashed over to level the scores.

Mike Swetman kicked a penalty from near halfway before Hayward sped clear to cross for his second try of the day and 13th of the season, taking Cleckheaton into a 13-5 lead.

On 17 minutes great support play led to Penrith No8 Mike Raine crossing and Matt Allinson converting.

Brad Marsden scored for Cleck after Matt Piper was stopped just short but Swetman missed the conversion.

Penrith then went into rugby sevens mode with two tries in four minutes through wingers Olly May and Jon Fell, earning themselves a bonus point and taking a lead they would retain until the final five minutes.

Jamie McNaughton also crossed and Allinson added two conversions as Penrith led 31-18.

Replacement Tim Mobbs made an immediate impact, scoring his first try for the club.

Cleck went back on attack but a pass out wide was intercepted and scrum-half George Graham raced 70 metres to score between the posts and Allinson converted for a 38-23 half time lead.

Another interception early in the second saw speedy wing man Fell grab his second try which Allinson converted.

Paul Turner gave Cleckheaton hope, burrowing over for his second try of the season before Jack Seddon also scored for Cleck .

Penrith looked to have sealed victory when May and Graham both added to their tally and Penrith held a seemingly insurmountable 59-35 lead.

Swetman started the come-back forcing his way over from short range and crossed again with 12 minutes to go, adding both conversions to reduce the deficit to 10 points.

Quick hands created space for Grant Fitzsimmons to cross with the conversion making the score 59-56.

As well as records for the most points scored in a game and the highest losing score in a game, Swetman also challenged for the quickest hat-trick in a game going in for the third time in under 10 minutes to give Cleckheaton the lead.

Captain Matt Piper added a final try for his side with under a minute left to seal an outstanding victory.

This was a fantastic way to close out the season with Cleckheaton extending their unbeaten run to seven games.

Head Coach, Thiu Barnard, assisted by Swetman are to continue their tenure next season, when Cleckheaton will look to mount a promotion challenge.