Cleckheaton return to form with victory over Northern

Mikey Hayward crosses for one of his two scores during last Saturdays impressive North East One victory over Northern at Moorend. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Cleckheaton returned to form as they ended a three-match losing run in North East One and ran in eight tries in a 52-22 victory over Northern last Saturday.

Head coach Thiu Barnard’s plea for a response to the disappointing defeat to Dinnington the previous week had the desired effect as Cleckheaton looked a much more determined and they romped to victory over their opponents from Newcastle.

Jack Seddon opened the scoring for Cleckheaton after only three minutes, tip-toeing down the left touchline following a good set piece drive from the forwards.

Mikey Hayward did the same down the right touchline soon after, on the back of good work from Matt Piper and Liam Darville. Mike Swetman converted one of these scores to give the home side a 12-0 lead.

Northern hit back with a try of their own but any hope of getting back into the game was short-lived as man-of-the-match, Josh Plunkett went in for Cleckheaton’s third try following a nice off-load by Luke Pearson.

Swetman then crashed over from short range for Cleck’s bonus point try. He also added the extras.

Ronan Evans finished off a great first half display with a champagne moment, taking a high pass out on the right wing, chipping over his opposite number and winning the race to touch the ball down in the corner. Swetman converted from the touchline straight into the howling gale and Cleck led 31-5 at half-time.

Northern replied with a well-taken converted try but Cleckheaton upped the ante as Niall Jackson and Ryan Piercy put in some big shots, with Paul Turner also producing a superb tackle.

With Northern pinned in their own 22, a clearance kick that held in the wind was fielded by Hayward and he drew the defence before putting James Wilson in for another Cleckheaton try.

Wilson then returned the compliment, feeding Hayward for the flying wingman to grab his second of the day.

Northern were rewarded for their efforts with another try before Barnard brought himself on to make his Cleckheaton debut and he also introduced Colt Bailey Smith for his first appearance in the first team.

Barnard made an immediate impact to crash over for Cleckheaton’s eighth try with Swetman converting.

Northern’s tenacity paid off when they went in for another try to also get a league point for their efforts.

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