Cleckheaton eye Stockport double

Cleckheaton captain Richard Piper could be in line for a return against Stockport.
Cleckheaton captain Richard Piper could be in line for a return against Stockport.

Cleckheaton will bid to complete a league double over Stockport on Saturday to provide a confidence boost heading into the pre-Christmas derby at Morley.

Stockport have lost all 13 games in National League Three North this season, failing even to muster a single bonus point, and Cleckheaton will hope that trend continues into a 14th straight match.

The Moorenders earned a 62-0 victory when they travelled to Stockport earlier in the season and Scott Benton’s men know completing the double will be the perfect tonic heading to Morley on December 17.

Cleckheaton will not be lacking support for the visit of the basement boys as 150 supporters, sponsors and guests will gather for a pre-match lunch, with the club handing out Santa hats to help people get into the festive spirit.

The pre-Christmas lunch proves a popular date in the Cleckheaton rugby calendar and the club have obtained permission to put the game back to a 3pm kick off to allow guests to enjoy the build up.

Cleckheaton go into the game on the back of heavy defeats to league leaders Huddersfield and fellow high fliers Wirral but they are confident of having a stronger side on duty for the visit of Stockport.

Captain Richard Piper is back in contention for a return having missed the last two weeks, while Danny Vento and Josh Hall are also available.

Stockport have conceded 834 points already and Cleck will be aiming to entertain the large crowd by playing some expansive rugby.

Jack Bickerdike is unlikely to feature against Stockport but could return for the derby clash at Morley, although Matt and Andy Piper are both expected to be out until the new year.

Cleckheaton’s understrength side went down 62-12 at Wirral, despite some encouraging performances, especially from their younger players thrown into the senior side.

Ryan Piercy scored a try and set up a second for Brad Marsden, while Mark Chivers produced a man-of-the-match display for the second week running.

Last week’s defeat leaves Cleckheaton 10th in National Three North, six points above third-bottom Morley, who ended a 11-match losing run with a surprise 40-38 win at Lymm last weekend.

Cleckheaton know the next two games are crucial to their season as they aim to put daylight between themselves and the bottom three heading into Christmas.