Cleckheaton extended their recent winning streak to four matches in North One East with an impressive 40-19 victory over Malton and Norton last Saturday.
Cleckheaton have clocked up 150 points over this period and have moved into seventh place, within touching distance of Bridlington, who have a points deduction looming over them.
Cleckheaton had to contend with a late withdrawals from the squad as Lee Queeley and Ryan Piercy failed fitness tests.
This promoted Grant Fitzsimmons from the bench and the back rower turned winger went on the earn Cleckheaton’s man-of-the-match.
It also allowed the return, after a long absence due to injury of Tom Austin, who filled in for Piercy in the second row and scored Cleck’s first try, which Mike Swetman converted.
Malton & Norton were dangerous with ball and had a three quarter with potential to break from anywhere on the field.
When a spilled ball was collected by Malton they went 65 metres for Rob Featherstone to score and Zweli Sodladla converted to level.
Cleckheaton’s physical pack proved difficult for Malton to contain and they won a scrum 15 metres from the try line.
Scrum-half Jack Bickerdike showed the ball to stand-off Ronan Evans before darting through a gap to score and Swetman again converted.
Cleckheaton’s third try saw a great move started by Mikey Hayward break down the left. The pack took up the attack with Josh Plunkett, Luke Pearson and Paul Turner driving hard before Swetman crashed over for an excellent try that involved more than half the team. Swetman’s conversion extended the half-time lead to 21-7.
Malton capitalised on a flurry of Cleckheaton infringements, to make their way down field, with Tom Foan going in for an unconverted try.
Cleckheaton responded and a penalty inside Malton’s 22 was quickly tapped by Bickerdike and a long pass by Matt Piper and a great, unselfish, feed from Hayward allowed Jack Seddon in at the corner. Swetman added a terrific touchline goal.
Cleckheaton took control from the re-start with a solid catch from Pearson and a mazy run from Joey Carley.
A long, looping, but perfectly weighted pass from Hayward switched play to the other wing where Fitzsimmons was rewarded for a fine individual performance with a try. Swetman couldn’t nail the touchline goal but the home side led 33-12 with 20 minutes remaining.
Cleckheaton’s sixth try came from more great work by the forwards which was thwarted at by Malton. The referee determined that this was done illegally and awarded a penalty try. Conversions are no longer required in these instances and Cleck advanced their total by another seven points.
Malton kept trying to the end and claimed the consolation of the last try from their man-of-the-match Nick Rangiuira.
There is no game on Easter Saturday and the team will take a well earned rest before kicking on for their last three games of the season, starting with their final away game at Percy Park on April 14.