Cleckheaton’s long unbeaten home run in North One East came to an end in dramatic fashion last Saturday as they lost 34-31 to West Leeds.
Cleckheaton came from behind to turn a half-time deficit into an 11-point lead, before conceding two late tries to see their home winning run ended.
Alex Brown returned at right wing and Jack Seddon was back in the team at flanker.
Captain Matt Piper started at number six, reflecting Cleck’s back row injury crisis. James Wilson and Martin Woodhead filled the centre positions with Mikey Hayward at full-back.
West Leeds took a fifth minute lead through a Hoey penalty and this seemingly irrelevant score would later prove the difference between the sides.
Cleckheaton scored their opening try after Wests failed to secure a loose ball and player-coach Thiu Barnard pounced for his first of the season but the conversion was wide.
West Leeds turned the game with two tries in two minutes, both to winger Marshall following quick hands down the left. Hoey kicked both goals and the visitors led 17-5.
Cleck were awarded a five metre scrum after being held up over the line and a slick move put Wilson over for a try, converted by Ben Dearing, to reduce the half-time arrears.
Cleckheaton’s bench was active as Barnard left the field injured, replaced by James Crowther, and Grant Fitzsimmons entered the fray, going on to win man-of-the-match.
Multiple phases and good hands from Dearing, Piper and Fitzsimmons put Hayward in the corner to level the scores and 10 minutes later Cleck went ahead when Brown came off the wing and took a pass from Jack Bickerdike to score his first try for the club. Dearing converted to make it 24-17.
West Leeds captain Neave replied with a 57th minute try following good work down the right reducing the deficit to two points.
Cleckheaton extended the lead through a try by hooker Tim Mobbs following good forwards play and Dearing converted to seemingly put the home side in control.
West Leeds were far from done and turned the game with two tries in five minutes.
Replacement Gregory drove over from close range and soon after Carpenter crossed for the game winner, which was converted by Hoey to give West Leeds a three point lead.
Both teams scored five tries on the day and Cleckheaton picked up both a losing and a try-scoring bonus point but it was scant consolation from a game which they let slip from their hands.
They face a trip to high flying York on Saturday, with the final 3pm kick off until Match.