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Cleckheaton end long losing run with impressive derby triumph over Bees

Mike Swetman kicked five penalty goals for Cleckheaton.
Mike Swetman kicked five penalty goals for Cleckheaton.

Cleckheaton recovered from a 12-point deficit to defeat Bradford & Bingley 27-19 and end a seven-match losing run in North One East last Saturday.

Victory brought Cleck’s 2018 points drought to an end and moved them two places up the table and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

Head coach Thiu Barnard declared himself fit and was also able to include Luke Pearson in the second row for the first time since Boxing Day, Mikey Hayward missed out with hamstring injury but James Wilson was back after illness.

Prop Andy Piper was a late withdrawal after turning his ankle at training, which allowed Tim Mobbs to make his first team debut.

A long afternoon seemed like it could be on the cards for Cleckheaton as Bees’ former Tonga and New Zealand Rugby League international, Fuifui Moimoi, steamrollered up the centre of the field, scattering the defence and creating a position from which scrum half Jeffry strolled between the posts. Tanner converted.

Cleckheaton then spilled a Bees kick through and the visitors played a knock-on advantage and spread the ball wide for Morton to score in the corner and put them 12-0 up.

Captain Matt Piper led from the front, carrying the ball hard at every opportunity and he broke through to send Wilson over for a try.

Mike Swetman converted and added a penalty soon after.

Piper almost put Cleckheaton in front but dropped the ball over the line.

Within 90 seconds Piper had made up for it as he quickly tapped a penalty and threw a pass out to winger Grant Fitzsimmons who blitzed over in the corner. The conversion was missed but Cleckheaton led 15-12 at half-time.

The second period saw Cleckheaton put in an impressive defensive display as Bradford & Bingley struggled to get out of their half.

Joey Carley put in a stand out hit on Moimoi to quell a possible break and man-of-the-match Jack Bickerdike constantly disrupted the opposition players, while marshalling the pack forward.

Swetman extended the lead with a penalty as Bees were reduced to 14 men due to a yellow card.

Swetman’s drop goal attempt bounced off a post but the visitors were penalised again and Swetman slotted over the goal.

Bingley continued to infringe and Swetman kicked two more penalties, bringing the total to five and adding an impressive 12 points to Cleckheaton’s second half tally as they led 27-12.

Paul Turner was yellow carded for over exuberantly congratulating a Bees player for knocking-on near Cleckheaton’s line and the visitors drove over for a consolation try.