Durham City 28
CLECKHEATON RUFC chalked up a fine win in North One East last Saturday.
On a record breaking hot day in October, Durham City came to Cleckheaton hoping to break their own, less welcome, record of losses away from home this season.
In the opening exchanges Cleckheaton could not get any controlled possession and two successful penalties from City’s Adam Morton saw them lead 6-0. To make matters worse, Paul Turner had to leave the field after 10 minutes with a torn hamstring, to be replaced by Danny Furness.
Despite the loss of their captain, the home side began to impose themselves and fully clicked into gear when Ross Hayden went in for the first of his two tries, following good distribution along the backs and a deft pass from Richard Piper.
City attacked from the re-start but Cleckheaton defended manfully with Ryan Piercy, Iain Gordon and Furness putting in notable tackles.
Cleckheaton extended their lead after 20 minutes when a kick out of their 22 by Durham was fielded close to the touch line by Steve Worsley. Under pressure from an on-rushing opposition centre who was 10 years younger, 10 inches taller and at least 10 yards quicker, the experienced hooker delighted the crowd with a side-step, which left his opponent with his head bowed.
Worsley raced 20 metres and after good work by Ed Chappelow and Ollie Depledge Cleckheaton’s pack drove close to the line and Richard Piper slipped from the back of the maul and go in for their second try.
Gordon, was successful with his second attempt and put Cleck into a 12-6 lead.
The referee then called for a drinks break after which Gordon landed a penalty goal. With less than five minutes to the break, Pete Murphy ran clear on the half-way line and sprinted 30 metres before releasing Ross Hayden to go between the sticks for his second try, Gordon converted
From the re-start Cleckheaton drove on and Matt Piper pirouette through three would-be tacklers for Cleckheaton’s bonus point try and make it 27-6.
Murphy was replaced by Danny Wilkinson at the break after which Cleckheaton struck again. Good play down the left resulted in Martin Woodhead crossing close to the sticks for a converted try.
Nick Holland replaced Worsley before the conditions started to take their toll on the home side. Durham found some urgency to score two quick unconverted tries before a second drinks break.
Cleckheaton then rallied and Richard Piper went in for his second try after 65 minutes and Gordon’s boot restored a 25-point lead.
Durham hit back with their third try before then had a man sinbinned, followed soon after by Mark Sergeant who was shown the yellow card.
With three minutes to go Durham got some tangible reward for their efforts when they crossed for their fourth and bonus point try.
Cleckheaton played excellent flowing rugby during this game and showed they have some real class.
The players will be disappointed that they let the visitors in for four tries when the agreed goal at half time was to keep the opposition tryless.