Cleckheaton maintain excellent end of season form with sixth straight win

Cleckheaton recorded a sixth straight win in North One East last Saturday as they avenged a heavy defeat at Morpeth earlier in the season with a 20-14 success at Moorend.

Cleckheaton were put under early pressure by a very mobile Morpeth pack but these attacks failed to trouble the scoreboard.

James Wilson and Mikey Hayward combined on the right and Matt Piper cut through on a diagonal run to cross for a fine 12th minute try which Mike Swetman converted.

A midfield battle developed with excellent defence by both teams but when Morpeth disrupted a scrum 15 metres from the Cleck line, Ben Hornby slotted over a penalty goal.

Swetman pulled a penalty attempt of his own wide and soon after he produced a superb kick to the corner for a flying Hayward to run on to but the bounce of the ball eluded him and it remained 7-3 at half-time.

Morpeth gained a foothold in Cleck territory at the start of the second half and when the home team were penalised for a high tackle, Hornby kicked the goal to leave just a point between the teams.

Hornby was wide with another penalty shot soon after but Cleck’s reprieve was short lived as a loose ball from a scrum and a kick ahead led to a try for Morpeth full-back Johnny Ward, the conversion was missed but the visitors led 11-7.

Cleckheaton regained their composure and Morpeth conceded a penalty, making it worse by back-chatting the referee gifting a further 10 metres.

Andy Piper took a quick tap before Swetman fed Matt Piper on the charge and he slipped a ball out of the back of his hand, for Wilson to collect and regain the lead for Cleckheaton, with Swetman adding the extras.

Cleckheaton’s penalty count was causing concern as Morpeth piled on the pressure but although the defence was strong, another penalty goal by Hornby saw the visitors draw level.

Good work by Bickerdike, Wilson and man-of-the-match Brad Marsden led to Morpeth conceding another penalty which Swetman kicked and a further Swetman penalty two minutes from time sealed a fine win and propelled the club into sixth place in the league.