Cleckheaton show battling qualities in defeat to leaders

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Cleckheaton produced a battling performance before slipping to a 29-19 defeat to North One East leaders Scarborough last Saturday.

Cleckheaton welcomed Scarborough to Moorend for a league game for the first time in two decades and they were hoping to continue their winning run and overturn a narrow defeat at Silver Royd earlier in the season.

Cleckheaton made a bright start and when a Scarborough player was penalised for speaking out of turn after just three minutes, Dale Breakwell kicked the goal from 35 metres out.

The lead didn’t last long as Jack Bickerdike and Jack Seddon made a mess of a pick up from a scrum and with quick hands to the right, Scarborough full-back, Perrett, strolled across for an unconverted try.

Breakwell restored the lead with another penalty on 23 minutes after the visitors were caught offside.

Cleck won a penalty in their own 22 but a bit of backchat saw the decision reversed and again with excellent hands and line speed down the blind side, Scarborough No8 Ben Martin went into a gap for a try to put the visitors 10-6 ahead.

A fine cross kick by Breakwell put winger Danny Booth into space but he slipped trying to cut inside his man and the chance was lost.

Mike Swetman made some telling breaks as half-time approached but the Scarborough defence was able to scramble and snuff out the threat, before the visitors had flanker Govier sent to the sin bin just before the break.

Scarborough were then reduced to 13 men after another sin bin early in the second half and Cleckheaton really should have capitalised.

Scarborough’s defence was top drawer but Cleckheaton helped them by not playing with enough patience.

With Cleck applying pressure on the Scarborough line, Josh Plunkett could not keep hold of a pass that was rocketed towards him and the ball came loose in a crunching tackle, the kick ahead went to hand and Perret crossed again for a long range try, converted by Young, as the lead was stretched to 17-6.

Cleck had a lot of possession in good field position but were unable to make it count.

Scarborough then scored a 68th minute bonus point try after another length of the field effort by scrum-half Wakenham.

Coach Thiu Barnard rang the changes and brought on Ben Dearing, Matt Wood and Josh Clough, with James Wilson switching to scrum half in place of Bickerdike.

Breakwell got his third penalty goal of the game with 10 minutes remaining and some quick thinking by Cleckheaton man-of-the-match Swetman, saw him put Mike Hayward into to space to cross on the left for his 10th try of the season.

Scarborough replied with a fifth try by Govier, converted by Young, but Cleck had the final word when Booth crossed for his sixth try since joining the club.

Unfortunately time wasn’t on Cleckheaton’s side as they were denied a losing bonus point with Scarborough showing their league topping credentials.