Cleckheaton head into new year buoyed by Brods win

Former Cleckheaton captain Richard Piper returned to Moorend as a guest player and was among the try scorers to help his side win the Fred Scott Memorial Trophy with victory over Old Brodleians on Boxing Day.
Former Cleckheaton captain Richard Piper returned to Moorend as a guest player and was among the try scorers to help his side win the Fred Scott Memorial Trophy with victory over Old Brodleians on Boxing Day.

CLECKHEATON RUFC head to the east coast this Saturday as their North One East campaign resumes away to Bridlington.

The Moorenders go into the match on the back of a three match winning run in the league as Thiu Barnard’s men have begun to turn things around following an indifferent start to the season.

They overcame Percy Park 31-27 on December 2 but were then left frustrated with games at Morpeth and home to neighbours Bradford & Bingley falling victim to the weather.

Cleckheaton though, head into the new year on the back of lifting the Fred Scott Memorial Trophy on Boxing Day after they overcame local rivals Old Brodleians 21-7 in their traditional festive clash.

Brods headed into that game bidding for a hat-trick of festive wins but Cleckheaton took early control with three first half tries, which was the platform for victory.

Both sides fielded guest players in the fixture, with former Cleckheaton captain Richard Piper making a popular return to Moorend for a run out following his move to Huddersfield in the summer.

The Brods, as has become a tradition in this fixture, fielded many former colts returning from university to enjoy a reunion with their former team mates.

A good crowd of hardy souls braved the cold and continued the festivities in the Cleckheaton bar after an entertaining game.

Cleckheaton were quickly into their stride and having held possession from kick-off, they controlled the ball at close quarters before releasing it down their left flank.

They created an overlap and Josh Plunkett benefited by collecting the final pass to score the opening try after five minutes, with Bailey Smith converting.

Brods continued to defend their line against the bigger Cleckheaton team but eventually the home side forced a five metre scrum and no8 Richard Piper touched down for a try which was his trademark during his many years with the club.

Smith again converted and Cleck led 14-0 after the opening 15 minutes.

Liam Darville grabbed Cleckheaton’s third try on the half hour and Smith again converted to put the home side in control at the break.

As the game developed Brods started to gain a share of possession and play some attractive rugby.

With Cleck leading 21-0 at half-time, several changes were made by both sides and it was Brods’ turn to dominate possession and territory.

After 10 minutes of pressing the Cleck line, George Cliffe’s speed off the mark from a quick tap penalty produced a converted try.

Brods pressed for a second try but the hosts defended well before finishing on the front foot to ensure the Fred Scott Trophy returned to Moorend.

Cleckheaton head into 2018 lying eighth in North One East and Saturday’s trip to Bridlington should provide a decent test with the home side sitting fourth, six points above Barnard’s men having played two games more.