Cleckheaton face key trip to Consett in fight against relegation

Mikey Hayward scored Cleckheaton's only try as they slipped to a 17-11 defeat against Driffield last Saturday, which leaves them precariously above the North One East relegation zone. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Mikey Hayward scored Cleckheaton's only try as they slipped to a 17-11 defeat against Driffield last Saturday, which leaves them precariously above the North One East relegation zone. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Cleckheaton face a crucial trip to Consett on Saturday as they battle to keep out of the North One East relegation zone.

Last week’s 17-11 defeat to Driffield at windswept Moorend has left Cleckheaton just three points above third-bottom Bridlington with four games remaining.

Consett saw their relegation confirmed last week and Cleckheaton face a must win game against the division’s bottom side if they are to keep out of trouble.

There was very little to choose between the teams in the opening exchanges of last week’s game as a James Watts penalty goal from 20 metres out gave Driffield the lead.

Cleckheaton’s Mike Hayward broke down the left and fed Danny Booth but the pass was forward, while Ryan Piercy was held up over the try line.

Dale Breakwell levelled matters before half-time with a 35 metre penalty.

Watts edged Driffield back in front with an early second half penalty and when Matt Piper was sin-binned, the visitors took immediate advantage as centre Gary Stephenson crashed over near the corner flag to put them 11-3 up.

Breakwell reduced the lead with another penalty as Driffield number 8 Brankley was sent to the sin bin.

Quick hands by Breakwell and Swetman put Hayward into a gap and the centre stepped around the defence for his 11th try of the season to tie the game.

The increased morale was short lived as the restart was allowed to bounce and was pounced on by a Driffield player who got deep into Cleckheaton 22 before being brought down illegally and Watts kicked the goal.

Watts added another penalty as Driffield moved six points ahead.

Cleckheaton were twice held up over the try line before Driffield withstood a last gasp rolling maul to hang on for victory and the home side had to settle for a losing bonus point.